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THE LONG ROLL. The first of two books dealing 

with the war betweeti the States. With Illustrations 

in color by N C. Wybth. 
CEASE FIRING. The second of two books dealing 

with the war between the States. With Illustrations 

in color by N. C. Wyeth. 
LEWIS RAND. With Illustrations in color by F. C. 

YOHN. 

AUDREY. With Illustrations in color by F. C. Yohn. 

PRISONERS OF HOPE. With Frontispiece. 

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. With 8 Illustrations by 

Howard Pyle, E. B. Thompson, A. W. Betts, and 

Emlen McConnell. 



THE GODDESS OF REASON. A Drama.. 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
Boston and New York 



CEASE FIRING 




THE ROAU TO VIDALIA 



CEASE FIRING 

BY MARY JOHNSTON 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 

BY N. C. WYETH 




HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

BOSTON AND NEW YORK : : THE 

RIVERSIDE PRESS CAMBRIDGE 

191 2 



H L. ^ fc ■' 



COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY MARY JOHNSTON 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published November iqis 



Wo t\)t S0tmove of 

JOHN WILLIAM JOHNSTON 

MAJOR OF ARTILLERY, C. S. A. 

AND OF 

JOSEPH EGGLESTON JOHNSTON 

GENERAL, C. S. A. 



CONTENTS 

I. The Road to Vidalia i 

II. Cape Jessamine ii 

III. VicKSBURG 24 

IV. Chickasaw Bayou 36 

V. Fort Pemberton 46 

VI. The River 5S 

VII. Port Gibson 6g 

VIII. In Virginia 81 

IX. The Stonewall 95 

X. The Bulletin 108 

XI. Prison X 115 

XII. The Siege 128 

XIII. Across the Potomac 141 

XIV. The Cave 156 

XV. Gettysburg 166 

XVI. Back Home 178 

XVII. Bread cast on Water 191 

XVIII. Three Oaks 204 

XIX. The Colonel of the Sixty-fifth . .215 
XX. Chickamauga 225 

XXI. Missionary Ridge 240 

XXII. Dalton 253 



viii CONTENTS 

XXIII. The Road to Resaca .... 265 

XXIV. The Guns 279 

XXV. The Wilderness 287 

XXVI. The Bloody Angle .... 298 

XXVII. Richmond 306 

XXVIII. Cold Harbour 314 

XXIX. Little Pumpkin-Vine Creek . . . 321 

XXX. Kennesaw 329 

XXXI. Thunder Run ...... 340 

XXXII. Hunter's Raid 347 

XXXIII. Back Home 354 

XXXIV. The Road to Washington . . . 364 
XXXV. The Crater 372 

XXXVI. The Valley 382 

XXXVII. Cedar Creek 392 

XXXVIII. The Army of Tennessee . . . 405 

XXXIX. Columbia 416 

XL. The Road to Winnsboro' . . . 427 

XLI. The Beginning of the End . . . 440 

XLII. April, 1865 450 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

The Road to Vidalia (page 3) . . . Frontispiece 

Sharpshooters 128 

The Bloody Angle 302 

The Scout 392 

From diawings by N. C. Wyeth 



CEASE FIRING 

CHAPTER I 

THE ROAD TO VIDALIA 

THE river ran several thousand miles, from a land of snow 
and fir trees and brief summers to a land of long, long 
simimers, cane and orange. The river was wide. It dealt 
in loops and a tortuous course, and for the most part it was yellow 
and turbid and strong of current. There were sandbars in the 
river, there were Jewelled islands ; there were parallel swamps, 
lakes, and bayous. From the border of these, and out of the water, 
rose tall trees, starred over, in their season, with satiny cups or 
disks, flowers of their own or vast flowering vines, networks of lan- 
guid bloom. The Spanish moss, too, swayed from the trees, and 
about their knees shivered the canebrakes. Of a remarkable person- 
aKty throughout, in its last thousand miles the river grew unique. 
Now it ran between bluffs of coloured clay, and now it flowed above 
the level of the surrounding country. You did not go down to the 
river: you went up to the river, the river caged like a tiger behind 
the levees. Time of flood was the tiger's time. Down went the levee 
— widened in an instant the ragged crevasse — out came the 
beast! — 

December, along the stretch of the Mississippi under considera- 
tion, was of a weather nearly like a Virginian late autumn. In the 
river towns and in the plantation gardens roses yet bloomed. In the 
fields the cotton should have been gathered, carried — all the silver 
stuff — in wagons, or in baskets on the heads of negroes, to the gin- 
houses. This December it was not so. It was the December of 1862. 
Life, as it used to be, had disintegrated. Life, as it was, left the fields 
untended and the harvest ungathered. Why pick cotton when there 
was nowhere to send it ? The fields stayed white. 



2 CEASE FIRING 

The stately, leisurely steamers, the swan-like white packets, were 
gone from the river; gone were the barges, the flatboats and freight 
boats; gone were the ferries. No more at night did there come 
looming — from up the stream, from down the stream — the giant 
shapes, friendly, myriad-lighted. No more did swung torches reveal 
the long wharves, while the deep whistle blew, and the smokestack 
sent out sparks, and the negro roustabouts sang as they made her 
fast. No more did the planter come aboard, and the planter's 
daughter; no more was there music of stringed instruments, nor the 
aroma of the fine cigar, nor sweet drawling voices. The planter was 
at the front; and the planter's daughter had too much upon her 
hands to leave the plantation, even if there had been a place to go to. 
As it happened there was none. 

Farragut, dressed in blue, ruled the river upward from the Gulf 
and New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Porter, dressed in blue, 
ruled it downward from Cairo to Grand Lake. Their steam 
frigates, corvettes, and sloops-of-war, their ironclads, tinclads, 
gunboats, and rams flew the Stars and Stripes. Between Grand 
Lake and Baton Rouge the river was Confederate, unconquered 
yet, beneath the Stars and Bars. They flew from land and water 
defences at Vicksburg, from the batteries up the Yazoo, from 
Natchez and the works on the Red River, and the entrenchments 
at Port Hudson. They flew from the few, few remaining grey 
craft of war, from the transports, the cotton-clads, the Vicksburg, 
the De Soto, the gunboat Grand Duke, the ram Webb. Tawny 
and strong ran the Mississippi, by the Stars and Stripes, by the 
Stars and Bars. 

It had rained and rained. All the swamps were up, the bayous 
overflowing. The tiger, too, was out; now here, now there. That 
other tiger. War, was abroad, and he aided in breaking levees. On 
the Mississippi side, on the Louisiana side, bottom lands were brim- 
ming. Cottonwood, red gum, china trees, cypress and pine stood up, 
drenched and dismal, from amber sheets and eddies, specked with 
foam. The clouds hung dark and low. There was a small, chill, 
mournful wind. The roads, trampled and scored by eighteen months 
of war, were little, if any, better than no roads. 

A detachment of grey infantry and a section of artillery, coming 
up on the Louisiana side from the Red River with intent to cross at 



THE ROAD TO VIDALIA 3 

Vidalia and proceed from Natchez to Vicksburg, found them so. 
In part the detail was from a regiment of A. P. Hill's, transferred 
the preceding month from Fredericksburg in Virginia to Vicksburg 
in Mississippi, sent immediately from Vicksburg toward Red River, 
it being rumoured that Farragut meant a great attack there, and 
almost immediately summoned back, Secret Service having deter- 
mined that Grant at Oxford meant a descent upon Vicksburg. The 
detachment was making a forced march and making it through a 
Slough of Despond. The no-roads were bottomless; the two guns 
mired and mired; the straining horses could do little, however good 
their will. Infantry had to help, put a shoulder to wheel and caisson. 
Infantry was too tired to say much, but what it said was heartfelt, 
— " Got the right name for these States when they called them Gulf 
States! If we could only telegraph to China they might pull that 
gun out on that side ! " — " O God ! for the Valley Pike ! " — "Don't 
say things like that! Homesickness would be the last straw. If 
anybody's homesick, don't, for the Lord's sake, let on! . . . Get 
up. Patsy! Get up, Pansy! Get up. Sorrel!" . . . " Look-a-here, 
^tillery ! If it 's just the same to you, we wish you 'd call that horse 
somethhig else! You see it kind of brings a picture up. . . . This 
identical minute 'Old Jack's' riding Little Sorrel up and down 
beforeBurnsideat Fredericksburg, and we're not there to see! . . . 
Oh, it ain't your fault! You can't help being Mississippi and Louisi- 
ana and bringing us down to help! You are all right and you fight 
like hell, and you 've got your own quality, and we like you first-rate ! 
If we were n't Army of Northern Virginia, we surely would choose 
to be Army of Tennessee and the Southwest — so there's no need 
for you to get wrathy! . . . Only we would be obliged to you if 
you'd change the name of that horse!" 

The clouds broke in a bitter downpour. "Ooooh-h! Country 's 
tumedover and river 'son top! Get up, Patsy! Get up, Pansy I Get 
up — r This ain't a mud-hole, it 's a bayou ! God knows, if I lived in 
this country I'd tear all that long, waving, black moss out of the 
trees! It gives me the horrors." — "Get on, men! get on!" — 
"Captain, we can't!" 

Pioneers came back. "It's a bayou — but there's a corduroy 
bridge, not more than a foot under water." 

Infantry crossed, the two gims crossed. Beyond the arm of the 



4 CEASE FIRING 

bayou the earth was mere quaking morass. The men cut canes, 
armfuls and armfuls of canes, threw the bundles down, and made 
some sort of roadbed. Over it came those patient, famished, piteous 
soldiers, the horses, and behind them, heavily, heavily through the 
thickened mire, guns and caissons. Gun and wheel and caisson were 
all plastered with mud, not an inch of bright metal showing. The 
horses, too, were all masked and splashed. The men were in no better 
case, wet through, covered from head to foot with mud and mire, 
the worn, worn uniforms worsened yet by thorn and briar from the 
tangled forest. The water dripped from the rifles, stock and barrel, 
the water dripped from the furled and covered colours. The men's 
shoes were very bad; only a few had overcoats. The clouds were 
leaden, the rain streamed, the comfortless day was drawing down. 
The detachment came into a narrow, somewhat firmer road set on 
either hand with tall cypresses and water oaks, from every limb of 
which hung the grey moss, long, crepe-like, swaying in the chill and 
fretting wind. "For the Lord's sake," said Virginia in Louisiana, 
"sing something!" 
A man in the colour guard started "Roll, Jordan, roll" — 

"I want to get to Heaven when I die, — 
To hear Jordan roll!" 

The line protested. "Don't sing about a river 1 There's river 
enough in ours now! — That darkey, back there, said the levees 
were breaking." 

"Moses went up to de mountain top — 
Land of Canaan, Canaan Land, 
Moses went up to de mountain top — " 

"Don't sing that either! We're nine hundred miles from the 
Blue Ridge and Canaan Land. . . . Sech a fool to sing about 
mountains and home!" 

"Well," said Colour Guard, "that was what I was thinking about. 
If anybody knows a cheerful hymn, I '11 be glad if he 'II line it out — " 

"Don't sing a hymn," said the men. "Sing something gay. 
Edward Gary, you sing something." 

"All right," said Edward. "What do you want?" 

"Anything that'll light a fire in the rain! Sing us something 
funny. Sing us a story." 

"There was a ram of Derby," 



THE ROAD TO VIDALIA 5 

sang Edward — 

"As I have heard it said, 
That was the fattest ram, sir, 
That ever had a head — " 

The cypress wood ended. They came out into vast cotton-fields 
where the drowning bolls, great melancholy snowflakes, clung to the 
bushes, idle as weeds, careless of famine in mill-towns oversea. The 
water stood between the rows, rows that ran endlessly, cut from 
sight at last by a whirling and formless grey vapour. 

"The fleece that grew on that ram, sir. 

It grew so mighty high, 
The eagles built their nest in it. 

For I heard the yomig ones cry. 
And if you don't believe me. 

Or think I tell a lie, 
Why, just look down to Derby 

And see as well as I!" 

The land was as, flat as Holland, but the rank forest, the growth 
about the wandering arms of bayous breathed of another clime. The 
rain came down as in the rainy season, the wind was mounting, the 
wings of the dusk flapping nearer. 

"Get on, men, get on! We're miles from Vidalia." 

"The horns that grew on that ram, sir. 
They grew up to the moon, 
A man went up in Dedember 
And did n't come down till June! 

"Look out, Artillery! There's water tmder those logs!" 

The horses and the first gun got across the rotting logs roofing 
black water, infantry helping, tugging, pushing, beating down the 
cane. 

"Shades of night, where are we anyhow? Cane rattling and the 
moss waving and water bubbling — is it just another damned bayou 
or the river? . . . And all the flat ground and the strange trees . . . 
My head is turning round." 

"It's Bayou Jessamine," volunteered an artillerjanan. He spoke 
in a drawling voice. "We are n't far from the river, or the river 
is n't far from us, for I think the river's out. It appears to me that 
you Virginians gnimble a lot. There is n't anything the matter with 
this coimtry. It 's as good a country as God 's got. Barksdale's men 
aad the Waddngton Artillery are alwajra writing back that Virginia 



6 CEASE FIRING 

can't hold a candle to it . . . Wioa, there, WhitefootI Whoa, 
Dick!" 

The second gun had come upon the raft of logs. A log slipped, 
a wheel went down, gun and caisson tilted — artillery and infantry 
surged to the aid of the endangered piece. A second log slipped, 
the wheel beneath the caisson went down, the loaded metal chest 
jerked forwa,rd, striking forehead and shoulder of one of the aid- 
ing infantrymen. The blow was heavy and stretched the soldier 
senseless, half in the black water, half across the treacherous logs. 
Amid ejaculations, oaths, shouted orders, guns and caisson were 
righted, the horses urged forward, the piece drawn clear of the 
bayou. Down came the rain as though the floodgates of heaven 
were opened; nearer and nearer flapped the dusk. . . . 

Edward Gary, coming to himself, thought, on the crest of a low 
wave of consciousness, of Greenwood in Virginia and of the shepherds 
and shepherdesses in the drawing-room paper. He seemed to see his 
grandfather's portrait, and he thought that the young man in the 
picture had put out a hand and drawn him from the bayou. Then he 
sank into the trough of the sea and all again was black. The next 
wave was higher. He saw with distinctness that he was in a firelit 
cabin, and that an old negro was battling with a door which the 
wind would not let shut. The hollow caught him again, but proved a 
momentary prison. He opened his eyes fully and presently spoke to 
the two soldiers who hugged the fire before which he was lying. 

"You two fellows in a cloud of steam, did we lose the gun ?" 

The two turned, gratified and congratulatory. "No, no, we did 
n't lose it! Glad you've waked up, Edward! Caisson struck you, 
knocked you into the bayou, y ' know! Fished you out and brought 
you on till we came to this cabin. Company had to march away. 
Could n't wait — dark coming and the Mississippi gnawing holes 
out of the land like a rat out of a cheese ! The boys have been 
gone twenty minutes. Powerful glad you've come back to us! 
We'd have missed you Uke sixty! Captain says he hopes you can 
march!" 

Edward sat up, then lay down again upon the pallet. "I 've got a 
singing head," he said dreamily. "What's involved in my staying 
here?" 

His comrades laughed, they were so glad to hear him talking. 



THE ROAD TO VIDALIA 7 

"Told Kirk you couldn't inarch yet awhile! You got an awful 
blow. Only, we can't stay with you — that's involved! Captain's 
bent on making Vidalia. Orders are to bring you on if you can 
march, and if you can't to double-quick it ourselves and catch 
up! Says Grant 's going to invest Vicksburg and he can't spare even 
Kirk and me. You're to come on as quick as you can, and rejoin 
wherever we are. Says nobody ever had a better headpiece than 
you, and that you'll walk in somewhere that is n't at the end of the 
procession!" 

The night descended. Edward lay half asleep upon the pallet, 
in the light of the pine knots with which the negro fed the fire. The 
rushing in his head was going, the nausea passing, the warmth was 
sweet, bed was sweet, rest, rest, rest was sweet! The old negro went 
to and fro, or sat upon a bench beside the glowing hearth. 

After his kind he communed with himself half aloud, a slow stream 
of comment and interrogation. Before long he took from some mys- 
terious press a little com meal and a small piece of bacon. The meal 
he stirred with water and made into thin pones, which he baked upon 
a rusty piece of tin laid on a bed of coals. Then he found a broken 
knife and cut a few rashers of bacon and fried them in an ancient 
skillet. The cabin filled with a savoury odor! Edward turned on the 
pallet. "Uncle, are you cooking for two ?" 

The meal, his first that day, restored him to himself. By now it 
took much to kill or permanently disable a Confederate soldier. Life 
forever out of doors, the sky for roof, the earth for bed, spare and 
simple diet, body trained and exercised, senses cleared and nerves 
braced by danger grown the element in which he moved and had his 
being, hope rising clear from much reason for despair, ideality intact 
in the midst of grimmest realities, a mind made up, cognizant of 
great issues and the need of men — the Confederate soldier had no 
intention of dying before his time. Nowadays it took a bullet through 
heiart or head to give a man his quietus. The toppling caisson and the 
bayou had failed to give Edward Cary his. 

The young white man and the old negro shared scrupulously be- 
tween them the not over-great amount of corn bread and bacon. The 
negro placed Edward's portion before him on a wooden stool and took 
his own to the bench beside the hearth. The wind blew, the rain 
dashed against the hut, the flames leaped from resinous pine knot to 
pine knot. 



8 CEASE FIRING 

Supper finished, talk began. " How far from the river are we ?" 

"Ef you'll tell 'Rasmus, sah, 'Rasmus '11 tell you! En rights hit 
oughter be two miles, but I's got er kind ob notion dat de ribber's 
done crope nigher." 

Edward listened to the wind and rain. "What's to hinder it from 
coming nigher yet ? " 

"Nothin', sah." 

The young man got up, somewhat unsteadily, from the pallet, and 
with his hand against the wall moved to the door, opened it, and 
looked out. He shivered, then laughed. "Noah must have seen 
something like it when he looked out of the Ark!" He closed the 
door with difficulty. 

Behind him, the negro continued to speak. "Leastways, dar's 
only de Cape Jessamine levee." 

"Cape Jessamine ?" 

"De Gaillard place, sah." 

With a stick he drew lines in the ashes. "Bayou heah. Ribber 
heah. De Cun'l in between — only right now he way from home 
fightin' de Yankees — he en' Marse Louis. De Gaillard place — 
Cape Jessamine. Hope dat levee won't break!" 

Edward came back to the fire. "Do you belong to the place ?" 

"No, sah, I'se free. 01' marster freed me. But I goes dar mos' 
every day en' takes advice en' draws my rations. No, sah, I don' 
'zactly belong, butdey're my white folks. De Gaillards 's de finest 
kind dar is. Dar ain't no finer." 

Old man and young man, dark-skinned and light, African and 
Aryan, the two rested by the fire. The negro sat, half doubled, his 
hands between his knees, his eyes upon the floor by the door. Now 
he was silent, now he muttered and murmured. The glare from the 
pine knots beat upon his grey pate, upon his shirt, open over his 
chest, and upon his gnarled and knotted hands. Over against him 
half reclined the other, very torn and muddy, unshaven, gaunt, and 
hollow-eyed, yet, indescribably, carrying his rags as though they 
were purple, showing through fatigue, deprivation, and injury 
something tireless, uninjijred, and undeprived. He kept now a some- 
what languid silence, idle in the warmth, his thoughts away from 
the Mississippi and the night of storm. With the first light he 
would quit the cabin and press on after his company. He thought 



THE ROAD TO VIDALIA 9 

of the armies of the Far South, of the Army of Tennessee, the 
Army of the Trans-Mississippi, and he thought of the fighting in 
Virginia, of the Army of Northern Virginia, the army he had quitted 
but a few weeks before. He, too, that afternoon, had felt homesick 
for it, lying there behind the hills to the south of Fredericksburg, 
waiting for Bumside to cross the Rappahannock! . . . The soldier 
must go where he is sent! He thought of his own people, of his 
father, of Fauquier Gary, of Greenwood, and his sisters there. He 
should find at Vicksburg a letter from Judith. From the thought of 
Judith he moved to that of Richard Cleave. . , . Presently, with 
an impatient sigh, he shook himself free. Better think, to-night, of 
something else than tragedies and mysteries! He thought of roses 
and old songs, and deep forests and sunny childhood spaces. He put 
attention to sleep, diffused his mind and hovered in mere warmth, 
odors, and hues of memory and imagination. He set faint silver 
bells to ringing, then, amid slow alternating waves of red and purple, 
a master violin to playing. Lulled, lulled in the firelight, his eyelids 
drooped. He drew sleeper's breath. 

"De water's comin' under de doahl De water's comin' under de doahl " 

The violin played the strain for a moment, then it appeared that 
a string broke. Edward sat up. "What's the matter ? — Ha, the 
levee broke, did it ? " 

"Hit ain't de river, hit am de bayou! De bayou's comin' out, en' 
ef you don' min', sah, we's obleeged ter move!" 

Edward rose, stretching himself. "Move where ?" 

"Ter Cape Jessamine, sah. Bayou can't git dat far, en' dey sho' 
ain't gwine let de river come out ef dey kin help hit!" 

The floor was ankle deep in yellow water. Suddenly the door blew 
open. There entered streaming rain and a hiss of wind. The negro, 
gathering into a bundle his meagre wardrobe and bedding, shook his 
head and made haste. Edward took his rifle and ragged hat. The 
water deepened and put the fire out. The two men emerged from the 
cabin into a widening lake, seething and eddying between the dark 
trees. Behind them the hut tilted a little upon its rude foundation. 
The negro looked back. "Liked dat house, en' now hit's er-gwine, 
too! Bayou never come out lak dat befo' dishyer war!" 

Out of the knee-deep water at last, they struck into something 
that to the feet felt like a road. On either hand towering cypresses 



10 CEASE FIRING 

made the intense night intenser. It was intense, and yet out of the 
bosom of the clouds, athwart the slant rain, came at times effects of 
light. One saw and one did not see; there was a sense of dim revela- 
tions, cloudy purposes of earth, air, and water, given and then with- 
drawn before they could be read. But there was one thing heard 
plainly, and that was the voice of the Mississippi River. 

They were going toward it, Edward found. Once, in the transient 
and mysterious lightening of the atmosphere, he thought that he saw 
it gleaming before them. The impression was lost, but it returned. 
He saw that they were at the base of a tongue of land, set with 
gigantic trees, running out into the gleaming that was the river. 
The two were now upon slightly rising ground, and they had the 
sweep of the night before them. 

"Fo' Gawd!" said the negro; "look at de torches on de levee! 
River's mekkin' dem wuhk fer dey livin' to-night at Cape Jessa- 
mine! " 



CHAPTER II 

CAPE JESSAMINE 

THE two came from beneath the dripping trees out upon the 
cleared bank of the Mississippi, and into a glare of pine 
torches. The rain had lessened, the fitful wind beat the 
flames sideways, but failed to conquer them. There was, too, a tar 
barrel burning. The light was strong and red enough, a pulsing heart 
of light shading at its edges into smoky bronze and copper, then, a 
little further, lost in the wild night. The river curved like a scimitar, 
and the glare showed the turbulent edge of it and the swirling cross- 
current that was setting a tooth into the Cape Jessamine levee. 

'Rasmus spoke. "Dis was always de danger place. Many er time 
I've seen de Cun'l ride down heah, en' stand er-lookin'!" 

There seemed as many as a hundred negroes. They swarmed 
about the imperilled point; they went to it in two converging lines. 
Each man was bent under a load of something. He swung it from his 
shoulder, straightened himself, and hurried, right or left, back to 
shadowy heaps from which he lifted another load. " Dey sho' gwine 
need de sand bags dishyer night!" said 'Rasmus. 

In the leaping and hovering light the negroes looked gigantic. 
Coal black, bending, lifting, rushing forward, set about with night 
and the snarl of the tiger, they had the seeming of genii from an 
Eastern tale. Their voices came chantingly, or, after a silence, in a 
sudden shout. Their shadows moved with them on the ground. 
Edward glanced aroimd for the directing white man. "Dar ain't 
none," said 'Rasmus. "De haid oberseer when he heah dat New 
Orleans been taken he up en' say dey need mo' soldiers than dey do 
oberseers, en' he went ter Baton Rouge! En' de second oberseer dat 
come up en' tek he place, en' is er good man, las' week he broke he 
hip. En' dar wuz two-three others er-driftin' erroun, doin' what dey 
wuz tol' ter do, en' dey gone too. When hit wants ter, de river kin 
pull 'em in en' drown 'em en' tek 'em erway, but dishyer war's 



12 CEASE FIRING 

de wust yet 1 Yaas, sah, dishyer war 's er master han' at eatin' men ! 
No, sah, dar ain't no white man, but dar's a white woman — " 

Then Edward looked and saw Desir6e Gaillard. She was standing 
high, beneath her heaped logs, behind her the night. She had 
clasped around her throat a soldier's cloak. The wind raised it, blew 
it outward, the crimson lining gleaming in the torchlight. All the 
red light beat upon her, upon the blowing hair, upon the deep eyes 
and parted lips, the outstretched arm and pointing hand, the dress of 
some bronze and clinging stuff, the bent knee, the foot resting upon 
a log end higher than its fellows. The out-flung and lifted cloak had 
the seeming of the floating drapery in some great canvas, billowing 
mantle of heroine, saint, or genius. 

"Saintly," however, was certainly not the word, and Desiree 
would not have called herself heroine or genius. She was simply 
fearless and intent, and since, to keep the negroes in courage and 
energy, it was needful to keep them in good spirits, she was, also, to- 
night, cheerful, humorous, abounding in praise. Her voice rang out, 
deep and sweet. " Good man, Mingo ! Mingo 's carrying two to every- 
body else's one! Lawrence is doing well, though! So is Hannah's 
Tom! — 

'Levee! levee! lock your hands hard! 
Levee, levee! keep the river from my home! — ' 

Par ici, Franqoisl Christopher, Harper, Sambo, Haiti, Mingo 
Second, make a line! Big Corinth, throw them the sacks! Work 
hard — work hard! You shall have rest to-morrow, and at night a 
feast ! Look at Mingo, how he works ! He is n't going to let the river 
cover Cape Jessamine! When the Colonel comes home he is going 
to say, 'Good boy, Mingo!' To-morrow night all the banjos play- 
ing, and good things to eat, and the house-servants down at the 
quarters, and a dance like Christmas! — Mingo, Mingo, put ten 
sacks just there — " 

When she saw the soldier beside her her eyes opened wide in a 
moment's query, after which she accepted him as an item of the 
storm and the night. All the land was in storm, and the stream of 
events rapid. From every quarter and from distant forests the wind 
blew the leaves. Sometimes one knew the tree from which they 
came, sometimes not. On presumption, though, if the leaf were 
grey, the tree was a proper tree, humble, perhaps, in its region and 



CAPE JESSAMINE 13 

clime, but sound at heart and of a right grain. When Private Edward 
Gary, gaunt, ragged, muddy, imshaven, asked what he could do, she 
considered him gravely, then gave him Mingo Second and thirty 
men, with whom he set to strengthening a place of danger not so 
inuninent. From where he worked he heard at intervals her clear 
voice, now insouciante, now thrilling. There came a moment of 
leisure. He turned and saw her where she stood, her knee bent, her 
hand and arm outstretched against the river, the horseman's cloak 
blown backward and upward into a canopy, the red light over all, 
strong and clear upon her face and throat and bronze-sheathed body 
— saw her and loved her. 

The December night, already well advanced, grew old. Always 
the river attacked, always the land opposed. The yellow current 
sucked and dragged, but the dyke held and the dyke grew stronger. 
The rain ceased; far up in the sky, through a small, small rift peered 
a star. The wind died into a whisper. By three o'clock there came a 
feeling that the crisis had passed. 'Rasmus, working well with Ed- 
ward's detachment, gave it voice. "Cape Jessamine's done stood 
heah sence de flood, en' I specs dat's two hundred yeahs! Yaas, 
Lawd! En' when Gabriel blow he trump. Cape Jessamine gwine 
up en' say, 'Heah I is, sah! '" 

And at that moment there came running through the fields a 
wild-eyed negro, panic in his outstretched hands. "De levee by de 
backwoods — de levee by de backwoods — de levee what nobody 
eber thinks ob, hit's so safe! De ribber done swing ergin hit — de 
ribber done gouge er hole big ez de debbil! De yerth's er-tumblin' 
in, en' de ribber 's comin' out — " 

Through the last half-hour of the night, up a broad avenue be- 
tween water oaks, Edward found himself hurrying with Desiree. 
Before them raced the negroes, some upon the road, others streaming 
through the bordering fields. Desiree ran like a huntress of Diana's. 
Her soldier's cloak, blown by the wind, impeded her flight. She 
unclasped it as she ran, and Edward took it from her. 

"Will the house go ?" he asked. "How great is the danger ?" 

She shook her head. "I don't think we are in danger of our lives. 
I don't think the water can get to the house. It is not as though the 
levee had broken where we were working. What would happen then 
doesn't stand contemplating. This other is but an arm of the river 



14 CEASE FIRING 

— not deep nor strong. I think that the house quarters are safe and 
the stables. But we must get the women and children and the old 
men from the lower quarter. And the cattle in the fields — " She 
ran faster. 

In the pallor of the dawn the house of Cape Jessamine rose before 
them. Winged, with columns and verandahs, it loomed in the grey 
light above leisurely climbing wide lawns and bosky garden. At the 
house gates, — iron scroll and tracery between brick pillars, antique, 
graceful, — they were met by the younger, less responsible of the 
house servants. 

" my Lawd ! O Lawd Jesus ! O my Lawd, Missy ! de ribber 's out ! 
my Lawd, my sins! What we gwine ter do ?" 

"We 're going to stand a siege," said Desiree. "Have they 
brought Mr. Marcus in ? " 

"No'm. Dey waitin' fer you ter tell dem — " 

She pushed the cluster aside and ran on up the broad path, Ed- 
ward following. They mounted the steps, passed between the pillars, 
entered, and sped through a wide panelled hall and came out upon 
another verandah commanding a grassy space between house and 
offices. At a little distance, upon the same level, straggling away 
beneath pecan and pine and moss-draped oak, could be seen the 
house quarter. 

The negroes came crowding, men and women, big and little. "De 
ribber. Missy! De ribber. Missy! I don' climb er tree en' see hit! I 
see hit er-comin' en' er-eatin' up de cotton en' de cane ! O my Lawd, 
hit er comin' lak er thief in de night-time ! O my Lawd, hit er comin' 
lakerha'nt!" 

Desiree stood on the verandah steps and issued her orders. 
"Mingo, you take four men and go to the overseer's house. Tell 
Mr. Marcus that I say he's not to trust to the water not coming 
high in his house. Tell him I order him to come to the big house. 
Take him up on his mattress and bring him. Hurry, now, hurry! 
Mingo Second, Lawrence, Adolph, Creed, Lot, — six more of you! 
Try what you can do for the cattle in the lower fields! Try hard! If 
you bring them in, you shall have everything double to-night I — 
Haiti, Sambo, Hannah's Tom, all of you men on this side, — yes, 
you too, soldier, if you will! — we'll go now and bring the women 
and children and old men from the lower quarter!" 



CAPE JESSAMINE 15 

They were brought in — brought the last part of the distance 
through the knee-deep flood. When they got to the rising ground and 
the house quarter the water was close behind them. Yellow now in 
the strengthening light, beneath a tempestuous morning sky, it 
washed and sucked and drew against the just-out-of-reach demesne. 

When the Crippled overseer had been laid in a wing of the house, 
and the lower-quarter people had been disposed of in the house 
quarter and the innumerable out-buildings, when the cattle Mingo 
Second brought in had been stalled and penned, when with great 
iron keys Desiree had opened smokehouse and storehouse and given 
out rations, when fires had been kindled on cabin hearths, and old 
Daddy Martin had taken his banjo, and the house servants had 
regained equanimity and importance, and "Missy" had lavishly 
praised everybody, even the piccaninnies who had n't cried — .the 
plantation, so suddenly curtailed, settled under a stormy yellow sun- 
rise into a not unpleasurable excitement and holiday feeling — much 
like that of an important funeral. 

Desiree stood at last alone but for Edward, and for two or three 
house servants, hovering in the doorway. She had again about her 
the scarlet-lined cloak; her throat, face, and head were drawn 
superbly against the lighted east. 

She pushed back her wind-blown hair and laughed. "It might 
have been worse! — which is my habitual philosophy! We will have 
fair weather now, and the water will go down." 

"I am strange to this country," said Edward. "How can I find 
the road to Vidalia ?" 

He stood illumined by the morning glow, his rifle beside hiim where 
he had leaned it against the pillar. Now and again, through the past 
hours, his voice had been in her ear. In the first hearing it, in the 
moil and anxiety, she had at once the knowledge that this chance 
soldier possessed breeding. In this time and region the "private" 
before the "soldier" had the slightest of qualificatory value. Uni- 
versity and professional men, wealthy planters, sons of command- 
ing generals — all sorts and conditions were private soldiers. This 
one was, it appeared from his voice, of her own condition. But 
though she had noted his voice, by torchlight or by daybreak she 
had scarce looked at him. Now she did so; each looked into the 
other's eyes. 



1 6 CEASE FIRING 

"Vidalia ? The road to Vidalia is covered. You must wait until 
the water goes down." 
, "How long will that be ?" 

"Three days, perhaps. . . . You gave me good help. Permit me 
now to regard you as my guest." 

"You are all goodness. If you will give yourself no concern — I 

am Edward Cary, private in the th Virginia Infantry, lately 

transferred South. An accident, yesterday evening, left me behind 
my company on the road to Vidalia. I must follow as soon as it is at 
all possible." 

"It is not so yet. My father is with General Beauregard. My 
brother is at Grenada with General Van Dorn. I am Desiree Gail- 
lard. We Louisianians know what soldiers are the Virginia troops. 
Cape Jessamine gives you welcome and says, 'Be at home for these 
three days.'" 

She turned and spoke. The old butler came forward. "Etienne, 
this gentleman is our guest. Show him to the panelled room, and tell 
Simon he is to wait upon him." She spoke again to Edward. "Break- 
fast will be sent to you there. And then you must sleep. — No, 
there is nothing we can do. The danger to the main levee has passed 
for this time, I am sure. — Yes, there is still food. We can only fold 
our hands and wait. I am used to that if you are not. Refresh your- 
self and sleep. Supper is at seven, and I hope that you will take it 
with me." 

The panelled room, with a lightwood fire crackling upon the 
hearth, with jalousied windows just brushed against from without 
by a superb magnolia, with a cricket chirping, with a great soft white 
bed — ah, the panelled room was a place in which to sleep! The 
weary soldier from Virginia slept like the dead. The day passed, the 
afternoon was drawing toward evening, before he began to dream. 
First he dreamed of battle; of A. P. Hill in his red battle-shirt, and 
of an order from "Old Jack" which nobody could read, but which 
everybody knew must be immediately obeyed. In the midst of the 
whole division trying to decipher it, it suddenly became perfectly 
plain, and the Light Division marched to carry it out, — only he 
himself was suddenly back home at Greenwood and Mammy was 
singing to him 

"The buzzards and the butterflies.'' 



CAPE JESSAMINE 17 

He turned upon his side and drifted to the University, and then 
turned again and dreamed of a poem which it seemed he was writ- 
ing, — a great poem, — a string of sonnets, like Petrarch or Surrey 
or Philip Sidney. The sonnets were all about Love. ... He woke 
fully and his mind filled at once with the red torchlight, the wild 
liver beyond the levee, and the face and form of Desiree Gaillard. 

The door gently opened and Simon entered the panelled room, 
behind him two boys bearing great pitchers of heated water. The 
lightwood fire was biuming brightly; through the jalousies stole the 
slant rays of the sinking sun; the magnolia, pushed by the evening 
wind, tapped against the window frame. Simon had across his 
extended arm divers articles of wearing apparel. These he laid with 
solemnity upon a couch by the fire, and then, having dismissed the 
boys and observed that Edward was awake, he bowed and hoped 
that the guest had slept well. 

"Heavenly well," said Edward dreamily. "Hot water, soap, and 
towels." 

"I hab tek de liberty, sah," said Simon, "ob extractin' yo' uniform 
from de room while you slep'. De mud whar we could clean off, we 
hab cleaned off, en' we hab pressed de uniform, but de sempstress 
she say 'scuse her fer not mendin' de tohn places better. She say 
dat imiform sut'n'y seen hard service." 

"She's a woman of discernment," said Edward. "The tatters are 
not what troubles me. No end of knights and poets have appeared 
in tatters. But I do feel a touch when it comes to the shoes. There 's 
nothing of the grand manner in your toes being out. And had it 
ever occurred to you, Simon, before this war, how valuable is a 
shoestring?" He sat up in bed. "At this moment I would give all 
the silken waistcoats I used to have for two real shoestrings. — 
What, may I ask, could you do for the shoes ? " 

"King Hiram de cobbler, sah, he hab de shoes in han'. He shake 
he haid, but he say he gwine do all he kin. De sempstress, too, she 
say she gwine do her natchul bes'. But Miss Desiree, she say dat 
perhaps you will give Marse Louis, what am at Grenada wif Gineral 
Van Dom, de pleasure ob sarvin' you? She say de Mississippi River 
all 'roun' Cape Jessamine fer three days, en' nobody gwine come 
heah less'n dey come in gunboats, en' you kin wear yo' uniform 
away de third day — " Simon, stepping backward, indicated with a 



1 8 CEASE FIRING 

gesture the apparel spread upon the sofa. "You en' Marse Louis j 
sah, am erbout ob er height en' make. Miss Desiree tol' me so, en' 
den I see fer myself. Marse Louis's evening clothes, sah, en' some 
ob his linen, en' a ruflBed shu't, en' er pair ob his pumps dat ar 
mighty ol', but yet better than yo' shoes. — Dat am de bell-cord ober 
dar, sah, en' ef yo' please, ring when you ready fer me ter shave 
you." 

Downstairs the last roses of the west tossed a glow into the Cape 
Jessamine drawing-room. It suffused the high, bare, distinguished 
place, lay in carmine pools upon the floor, glorified the bowls of 
late flowers and made splendid the silken, heavy, old-gold skirt of 
Desiree Gaillard. There was a low fire burning on the hearth. She 
sat beside it, in an old gilt French chair, her hands resting upon the 
arms. Folding doors between room and hall were opened. Desir6e 
could see the spacious, finely built stairs from the gallery landing 
down; thus she had fair benefit of Edward Gary's entrance. The 
candles had been lighted before he came. Those in the hall sconces 
gave a beautiful, mellow light. Desiree had made no effort to explain 
to herself why all the candles were lighted, and why she was wearing 
that one of her year-before-last Mardigras dresses which she liked 
the best. She rarely troubled to explain her actions, to herself or to 
another. All her movements were characterized by a certain im- 
perial sureness, harmony. If she merely wished — the Southern 
armies being held in passionate regard by all Southern women — 
to do a ragged Virginia private honour; if she wished, delicately, 
fleetingly, half-ironically to play-act a little in the mist of flood and 
war; if she wished, or out of caprice or in dead earnest, to make a 
fairy oasis — why, she wished it! Whatever had been her motive, 
she possibly felt, in the moment of Edward Gary's appearance on 
the stair, that gown and lights were Justified. 

He was a man eminently good to look at. Louis Gaillard, it ap- 
peared, knew how to dress; at any rate, the apparel that Edward 
wore to-night became him so well that it was at once forgotten. He 
was clean-shaven, and Simon had much shortened the sunburnt hair. 

Down the stair and across hall and drawing-room he came to her 
side. "Did you ever get through the thorny wood and the briar 
hedge in the fairy story? That's what, without any doubt, I have 
done!" 



CAPE JESSAMINE 19 

Desiree smiled, and the room seemed to fill with soft rose and 
golden lights. "/ don't call it a thorny wood and a briar hedge. I 
always see a moat with a draw-bridge that you have to catch just at 
the right moment, or not at all — " 

At table they talked of this or that — which is to say that they 
talked of War. War had gripped their land so closely and so long; 
War had harried their every field; War had marked their every 
door — all their world, when it talked of this and that, talked only 
of some expression on some one of War's many faces. It might be 
wildly gay, the talk, or simple and sad, or brief and grave, with 
tragic brows, or bitterer than myrrh, or curioifsly humorous, or 
sardonic, or angry, or ironic, or infinitely touching, or with flashing 
eyes, or with a hand that wiped the drop away; but always the 
usual, customary talk into which folk fell was merely War. So 
Desiree and Edward talked War while they ate the delicate, frugal 
supper. 

But when it was eaten, and he followed her back into the drawing- 
room, they sat on either side the hearth, the leaping red and topaz 
flame between them lighting each face, and little by little forgot to 
talk of this and that. 

It appeared that save for the servants she had had few to talk 
to for a long, long while. There was a relief, a childlike outpouring 
of thought and fancy caged for months. It was like the awakened 
princess, eager with her dreams of a himdred years. They were 
dreams of a distinction, now noble, now quaint, and always some- 
what strange. He learned a little of her outward life — of her ances- 
try, half French, half English; of her mother's death long ago; of her 
father, studious, courteous, silent, leaving her to go her own way, 
telling her that he, not she, was the rapier in action, the reincarnated, 
old adventurousness of his line. He learned that she idolized her 
brother; that, save for a year once in France and six weeks each 
winter in New Orleans, she rarely left Cape Jessamine. He gathered 
that here she reigned more absolute than her father, that she loved 
her life, the servants, and the great plantation. It was as large almost 
as a principality, yet even principalities had neighbours up and 
down the river! He gathered that there had been visiting enough, 
comings and goings, before the war. Other principalities had prob- 
ably come a-wooing — he hoped with passion to no purpose! He 



20 CEASE FIRING 

also was of the old, Southern Ufe; he knew it all, and how her days 
had gone; she was only further South than his sisters in Virginia. 
He knew, too, how the last eighteen months had gonej he knew how 
they went with the women at home. 

They sat by the jewelled fire and talked and talked — of all things 
but this and that. War, like a spent thunder-cloud, drifted from 
their minds. They did not continuously talk; there' were silences 
when they looked into the exquisite flame, or, with quiet, wide eyes, 
each at the other. They were young, but their inner type was 
ancient of days; they sat quiet, subtle, poised, not unlike a Leonardo 
canvas. Before ten o'clock she rose and said good night and they 
parted. In the panelled room Cary opened the window and stood 
gazing out. There was a great round moon whitening a garden, and 
tall, strange trees. He saw an opaline land of the heart, an immemo- 
rial, passion-pale Paradise, and aroimd it all the watery barrier of 
the flood . . . D6siree, in her own room, walked up and down, up 
and down, then knelt before her fire and smiled to find that she 
was crying. 

The next morning, although he was up early, he did not see her 
until eleven o'clock. Then he came upon her as she quitted the wing 
in which had been laid the crippled overseer. All around was an 
old, formal garden, the day grey pearl, a few coloured leaves falling. 
The two sat upon the step of a summer-house, and at first they 
talked of the recession of the water and the plantation round which 
had kept her through the morning. Then, answering her smiling 
questions, he told her of his home and family, lightly and readily, 
meaning that she should know how to place him. After this the note 
of last evening came back, and with its thrilling sound the two fell 
silent, sitting in the Southern sunshine, gazing past the garden upon 
the lessening crescent of the flood. 

Late in the afternoon, as he sat in a dream before an excellent old 
collection of books, the door opened and she appeared on the thresh- 
old, about her the cloak of the other night. He rose, laying down 
an unopened book. 

"I am going," she said, "to walk down the avenue to look at the 
levee." 

They walked beneath the slant rays, through the deepening 
shade. Before them was the j^at river; turn the head and they saw, 



CAPE JESSAMINE 21 

beyond the rising ground and the house gleaming from the trees, the 
encroaching backwater, the two horns of that sickle all but touching 
the main levee. When they came upon this, out of the long avenue, 
the cypresses behind them were black against the lit west, unearthly 
still and dark against the gold. The river, too, was gold, a red gold, 
deep and very wide and swift. 

They stood upon the levee, and even his unaccustomed eye saw 
that the danger and strain of the other night was much lessened, 
but that always there was danger. — " The price of safety hereabouts 
is vigilance." 

"Yes. To keep up the levees. Now and then, before the War, we 
heard of catastrophes — though they were mostly down the river. ' 
Then, up and down, everything would be strengthened. But now — 
neglect because we cannot help it, and tremor in the night-time! 
Below Baton Rouge the Yankees have broken the levees. Oh, the 
distress, the loss! If Port Hudson falls and they come up the river, 
or Vicksburg and they come down it. Cape Jessamine will be as 
others." She drew her cloak close for a moment, then loosened it, 
held her head high and laughed. "But we shall win, and it will not 
happen! . . . If we walk to the bend yonder, we shall see far, far! — 
and it is lovely." 

At the bend was a bench beneath a live-oak. The two sat down 
and looked forth upon vast levels and shining loops of the river. 
From the boughs above hung Spanish moss, long and dark, like cob- 
webs of all time, like mouldered banners of some contest long since 
fought out. The air was an amethyst profound. 

For some minutes she kept the talk upon this and that, then 
with resolution he made it die away. They sat in a silence that soon 
grew speech indeed. Before them the golden river grew pale, the 
vast plain, here overflowed, there seamed with huge, shaggy forests, 
gathered shadow; above day at its latest breath shone out a silver 
planet. 

Desiree shivered. "It is mournful, it is mournful," she said, "at 
Cape Jessamine." 

"Is it so ? Then let me breathe mournfulness until I die." 

"The water is going down. Mingo says it is going down fast." 

"Yes. I could find it in my heart to wish it might never go 
down." 



i2 CEASE FIRING 

"It will. I am not old, but I see how what — what has been pleas- 
ant, dwindles, lessens — The road to Vidalia lies over there." 

"Yes. In the shadow, while the light stays here." 

Silence fell again, save for a bird's deep cry in some canebrake. 
Presently she rose and set her face toward the house. They hardly 
spoke, all the way back, beneath the cypresses. 

In a little while came night and candlelight. He found her in the 
idress of the evening before, by the jewelled flame, ruby and amber. 
They went into the next room, where there were tall candles upon the 
table, and ate of the delicate, frugal fare. There was some murmured 
■dreamy talk. They soon rose and returned to the drawing-room. 
There was a chess-table, and she proposed a game, but they played 
languidly, moving the pieces slowly. Once their hands touched. 
.She drew back; he lifted his eyes, then lowered them. It is probable 
■that they did not know which won. 

Again at ten, she said good night. Standing within the door he 
watched her slowly mount the stair — a form all wrapped in gold, a 
haunting face. At the turn of the stair there came a pause. She half 
turned, some parting courtesy upon her lips. It died there, for his 
upward look caught hers. Her face changed to meet the change in his, 
her body bent as his strained toward her; so they stayed while the 
clock ticked a quarter-minute. She was the first to recover herself. 
She uttered a low sound, half cry, half singing note, straightened 
herself and fled. 

The next morning again solitude and the drift of leaves in the 
garden walks. He did not see her until the middle of the day, and 
then she was somewhat stately in her courtesy, dreamy and brief 
of speech. 

"Would he excuse her at dinner ? There was a woman ill at the 
quarter — " 

"I asked you to let me give you no trouble. Only the day is flying 
and to-morrow morning I must be gone." 

"The water is not down yet!" 

"Yes, it is, or all but so. I have been to see. I must go, you know 
that — go at dawn." 

"I will be in the garden at four." 

But in the garden, she said it was sad with the cold, dank paths 
and the fading roses. They came up upon the portico and passed 



CAPE JESSAMINE 23 

through a long window into the drawing-room. She moved to the 
hearth and sat in her great, gilt chair, staring into a deep bed of 
coals above which, many-hued, played the flames. There was in the 
room a closed piano. . "No; she did not use it. Her mother had." 
He opened it, sat down and sang to her. He sang old love-songs, old 
and passionate, and he sang as though the piano were a lute and he a 
minstrel knight, sang like Rudel to the Lady of Tripoli. 

When he made an end and rose, she was no longer by the fire. 
She had moved to the end of the room, opened the long window, and 
was out in the sunset light. He found her leaning against a pillar, 
her eyes upon the narrow, ragged, and gleaming ribbon into which 
had shrunk the flood at Cape Jessamine. 

For a moment there was silence, then he spoke. "Nice customs 
curtsy to great kings," he said, "and great love knows no wrong 
times and mistaken hours. Absence and the chance of war are on 
their way. I dare hold my tongue no longer. Moreover, you, too, — 
I believe that you, too, know what this is that has come upon us! 
The two halves of the whole real world must in some fashion know 
each other — I love you, Desiree Gaillard — loved you when I saw 
you first, there on the river bank — " 

He put out his hands. Hers came to them, unhesitatingly. She 
uttered the same sound, half cry, half singing note, with which she 
had turned upon the stair the night before. In a moment they had 
embraced. 



CHAPTER III 

VICKSBURG 

SEVERAL days later, having crossed at Vidalia and passed 
through Natchez, he came to Vicksburg. "The th Vir- 
ginia?" 

"Camped, I think, in a vacant lot near the Court-House. Fine 
regiment!" 

"Yes, fine regiment. Why is the town so dressed up? I have 
not heard so many bands since General Lee reviewed us on the 
Opequon." 

"Similar occasion! The President and General Johnston are here. 
They came from Jackson yesterday. This morning they inspect the 
defences, and this afternoon there will be a review." 

" Give me all the news. I have been in another world." 

"Grant and Sherman are preparing to swoop. The first is at 
Oxford with fifty thousand men, the second has left Memphis. He 
has thirty-five thousand, and the Gunboat Squadron. We're in 
for it I reckon! But the town's taking it like a birthday party. — 
When I was a boy my father and mother always gave me a birthday 
party, and always every boy in town but me was there! Can't skip 
this one, however! — They say Forrest is doing mighty good work 
east of Memphis, and there came a rumour just now that Van Dorn 
had something in hand. — You're welcome!" 

The fair-sized town, built up from the riverside and over a shady, 
blossomy plateau, lay in pale sunshine. The devious river, yellow, 
turbid, looping through the land, washed the base of bluff and hill. 
Gone was the old clanging, riverside life, the coming and going of 
the packets, laughter and shouting of levee and wharf, big ware- 
houses looking benignantly on, mancEuvres of wagons and mules 
and darkies; gone were the cotton bales and cotton bales and cotton 
bales rolling down the steep ways into the boats; gone the singing 
and singing and casual sound of the banjo! There was riverside life 
now, but it partook of the nature of War, not of Peace. It was the 



VICKSBURG 25 

life of river batteries, and of the few, few craft of war swinging at 
anchor in the yellow flood. Edward Gary, climbing from the water- 
side, saw to right and left the little city's girdle of field-works, the 
long rifle-pits, the redoubts and redans and lunettes. All the hill- 
sides were trenched, and he saw camp-fires. He knew that not more 
than five thousand men were here, the remainder of the Army of the 
West being entrenched at Grenada, behind the Yallabusha. Above 
him, from the highest ground of all, sprang the white cupola of 
the Gourt-House. Aroimd were fair, comfortable houses, large, old, 
tree-embowered residences. The place was one of refinement of 
living, of bovmdless hospitality. Two years ago it had been wealthy, 
a centre of commerce. 

Edward came into a wider street. Here were people, and, in the 
distance, a band played "Hail to the Ghief." Every house that 
could procure or manufacture a flag had hung one out, and there were 
garlands of cedar and the most graceful bamboo vine. In the cool, 
high, December sunlight everything and everybody wore a holiday 
air, an air of high and confident spirits. Especially did enthusiasm 
dwell in woman's eye and upon her lip. There were women and child- 
ren enough at doors and gateways and on the irregular warm brick 
pavement. There were old men, too, and negro servants, and a good 
sprinkling of convalescent soldiers, on crutches or with arms in 
slings, or merely white and thin from fever. But young men or men 
in their prime lacked, save when some company swung by, tattered 
and torn, bronzed and bright-eyed. Then the children and the old 
men cheered and the negroes laughed and clapped, and the women 
waved their handkerchiefs, threw their kisses, cried, "God bless 
you!" East and west and north and south, distant and near, from 
the works preparing for inspection, called the bugles. 

Edward, moving without haste up the street, came upon a throng 
of children stationed before what was evidently a schoolroom. A 
boy had a small flag — the three broad stripes, the wreath of stars. 
He held it solemnly, with a thin, exalted face and shining eyes. 
The girl beside him had a bouquet of autmnn flowers. Upon the 
doorstep stood the teacher, a young woman in black. 

The group pressed together a little so that the soldier looking for 
his regiment might pass. As with a smile he made his way, his hand 
now on this small shoulder, now on that, the teacher spoke. 



26 CEASE FIRING 

"It's a great day, soldier! They must all remember it, mustn't 
they ? " 

"Yes, yes! "said Edward. He paused beside her, gazing about 
him. "I am of the Virginia troops. We passed through Vicksburg 
a fortnight ago, but it was at night. — Well! the place wears its 
garland bravely, but I hope the siege will not come." 

"If it does," said the young woman, "we shallstand it. We stood 
the bombardment last summer." 

The boy nearest her put in a voice. "Ho! that was n't anything! 
That was just fun! There was n't more 'n a dozen killed and one 
lady." 

"An' the house next ours burned up!" piped a little girl. "An' a 
shell made a hole in the street before my grandma's door as big as — 
big as — big as — big as the moon ! " 

All the children began to talk. " It was awful — " 

"Ho! it was n't awful. I liked it." 

"We got up in the middle of the night an' it was as light as day! 
An' the ground shook so it made your ears ring, an' everybody had 
to shout so's they 'd be heard — " 

"An' it was n't just one night! It was a whole lot of nights an' 
days. Old Porter an' old Farragut — " 

"An' Miss Lily used to give us holiday — " 

"Huh ! She would n't give it less'n the noise got so loud she had to 
scream to make us hear! When we could honest-Injun say, 'Miss 
Lily, we can't hear you! ' then she'd give it — " 

"We had a whole lot of holiday. An' then old Porter an' old 
Farragut went away — " 

The boy who held the banner had not spoken. Now he waved it 
once, looking with his brilliant eyes up and out, beyond the river. 
"The damn- Yankees went away, and if the damn- Yankees come 
any more, they can go away over again — " 

"Gordon! don't use injurious epithets!" said Miss Lily, very 
gently. 

Edward laughed and said good day. Farther on, keeping step for 
a moment with a venerable old gentleman, he asked, "What, sir, 
are all those small excavations in the hillsides, there, beyond the 
houses — " 

"They are refuges, sir, for the women and children and sick and 



VICKSBURG 27 

helpless. We made them when Faixagut came up the river and 
Porter came down it and poured shot and shell in upon us every few 
dajrs for a month or two! If signs may be trusted, it is apparent, sir, 
that we shall find use for them again." 

"I am afraid it is. I am not sure that it is correct to try to hold 
the place." 

The old gentleman struck his cane against the ground. "I am no 
strategist, sir, and I do not know a great deal about abstract cor- 
rectness! But I am not a giver-up, and I would eat mule and live in 
a rat-hole for the balance of my existence before I would give up 
Vicksburg! Yes, sir! If I were a two-year-old, and expected to live 
as long as Methuselah, those would be my sentiments! Danrn the 
outrageousness of their presence on the Mississippi River, sir! Our 
women are heroic, sir. They, too, will eat mule and live in rat-holes 
for as long a time as may be necessary! — No, sir; the President 
may be trusted to see that the town must be held!" 

"Will General Johnston see it so ?" 

The old gentleman wiped his forehead with a snowy handkerchief. 
"Why shpuld n't he see it so? He's a good general. General Pem- 
berton sees it so. Why should n't General Johnston see it so ?" 

Edward smiled. "Evidently you see it so, sir. — Yes; I know 
that except for Port Hudson, it 's the only defensible place between 
Memphis and New Orleans! We won't cross swords. Only our 
forces are n't exactly as large as were Xerxes'!" 

"Xerxes! Xerxes, sir, was an effete Oriental! — I gather from 
your accent, sir, that you are from Virginia. I don't know how it 
may be with Virginia, — though we have heard good reports, — but 
our people, sir, — our people are determined!" 

" Oh," said the other, with a happy laugh. "I like your people 

mighty well, sir! Do you happen to know where the th Virginia 

is camped?" 

The old gentleman waved his hand toward another and still 
broader street. Gary, passing into it, found more banners, more 
garlands, more people, and in addition carriages and civic digni- 
taries. In front of him, before a dignified, pillared residence, was an 
open place with soldiers drawn up. He gathered that this was the 
vacant lot for which he was searching, but nearer approach failed 
to reveal the th Virginia. A lieutenant stood beneath a tree, 



28 CEASE FIRING 

pondering his forming company. Edward saluted, begged for in- 
formation. 

" th Virginia? Ordered off at dawn to Grenada. Something 's 

up over that way. Grant making a flourish from Oxford, I reckon. 
Or maybe it's Van Dorn. Do you belong to the th Virginia?" 

The major came up. "Are you looking for the th Virginia? 

Yes? Then may I ask if you are Edward Gary? Yes? Then I pro- 
mised Captain Carrington to look out for you. He was worried — 
he said that you must have been hurt worse than he thought — " 

"I was not badly hurt, but a levee broke and flooded that region, 
and I could not get by." 

"I am glad to see you. It's not only Carrington — I 've heard 
a deal about you from a brother of mine, in yoiu: class at the 
University, Oliver Hebert." 

"Oh, arc you Robert?" 

"Yes. Oliver's in Tennessee with Cleburne. I hope you'll dine 
with me to-day? Good! Now to your affair. The regiment's going 
on to-morrow to Grenada with the President and General Johnston. 
You'd best march with us. We're waiting now for the President — 
detachment 's to act as escort. He '11 be out presently. He slept 
here last night." 

The company, whose first line had opened to include Edward, 
moved nearer the pillared house. Orderlies held horses before the 
door, aides came and went. Down the street sounded music and 
cheering. An dflScer rode before the waiting escort. 

"Attention I" 

"That's Old Joe they're cheering," said the private next Edward. 
"Glad Seven Pines could n't kill him! They say he's got a record 
for wounds — Seminole War — Mexican War — little scrimmage 
we're engaged in now! — always in front, however. I was at Seven 
Pines. Were you ? " 

"Yes." 

"Awful fight! — only we've had so many awful fights since — 
There he is! — General Johnston! General Johnston I General 
Johnston I" 

Johnston appeared, spare, of medium height, with grizzled hair, 
mustache and imperial, riding a beautiful chestnut mare. But re- 
cently recovered from the desperate wound of Seven Pines, recently 



VICKSBURG 29 

appointed to the command of the Department of the West, the 
bronze of the field had hardly yet ousted the pallor of illness. He 
rode very firmly, sitting straight and soldierly, a slight, indomitable 
figure, instinct with intellectual strength. He lifted his hat to the 
cheering lines and smiled — a very sweet, affectionate smile. It 
gave winsomeness to his quiet face. He was mingled Scotch and 
English, — somewhat stubborn, very able. 

Beside him rode General Pemberton, commanding the forces at 
Vicksburg and Grenada. The two were speaking; Edward caught 
Johnston's quick, virile voice. "I believed that, apart from any 
right of secession, the revolution begun was justified by the maxims 
so often repeated by Americans, that free government is fomided on 
the consent of the governed, and that every community strong enough 
to establish and maintain its independence has a right to assert it. 
My father fought Great Britain in defence of that principle. Patrick 
Henry was my mother's uncle. Having been educated in such opin- 
ions, I naturally returned to the State of which I was a native, joined 
my kith and kin, the people among whom I was bom, and fought — 
and fight — in their defence." 

He reached the broad steps and dismounted. As he did so, the 
door of the house opened and the President, a number of men behind 
him, came out upon the portico. Tall and lean as an Indian, clear- 
cut, distinguished, theorist and idealist, patriot undoubtedly, able 
undoubtedly, Jefferson Davis breathed the morning air. Mississippi 
was his State; Beauvoir, his home, was down the country. He looked 
like an eagle from his eyrie. 

Johnston having mounted the steps, the two met. "Ah, General, 
I wish that / were in the field with this good town to defend!" 

"Your Excellency slept well, I trust — after the people would let 
you sleep?" 

"I slept. General Pemberton, good morning — What are your 
arrangements?" 

"In a very few moments, if your Excellency pleases, we will start. 
The line of works is extensive." 

"Haynes Bluff to Warrenton," said Johnston. "About fifteen 
miles." 

"It is not expected," said Pemberton, "that his Excellency shall 
visit the more distant works." 



30 CEASE FIRING 

Mr. Davis, about to descend the steps, drew a little back. Be- 
tween his brows were two fine, parallel lines. "You think, General 
Johnston, that the lines are too extensive ? " 
"Under the circumstances — yes, your Excellency." 
"Then what is in your mind ? Pray, speak out !" 
"I think, sir, that one strong work should be constructed above 
the town, at the bend in the river. It should be made very strong. 
I would provision it to the best of our ability, and I would put there 
a garrison, say of three thousand. The remainder of General Pem- 
berton's forces I would keep in the field, adding to them — " 
"Yes ? Pray, be frank, sir." 

"It is my custom, your Excellency. I hesitated because I have 
already so strongly made this representation that I cannot conceive 
. . . Adding to them the Army of the Trans-Mississippi." 
"I cannot consent to rob Peter, sir, to pay Paul." 
"I conceive, sir, that it is neither Peter nor Paul that is in ques- 
tion, but the success of our arms. The enemy's forces are uniting 
to invade. Equally ours should unite to repel. General Holmes and 
his army are doing little in Arkansas. Here they might do much. — 
If we had the strong works and garrison I speak of — " 

"You would abandon all the batteries up and down the river?" 
"A giant properly posted will guard the Mississippi better than 
will your long line of dwarfs." 
"Pray, sir, do not say my line of batteries. They are not mine." 
"I will say, then, your Excellency, General Pemberton's." 
"You, sir, and not General Pemberton, are in command of the 
Department of the West." 

" So, when it is convenient, it is said. I have, then, sir, authority 
to concentrate batteries and a certain proportion of troops at the 
bend of the river ?" 

"We will take, sir, your ideas under consideration." 
The President moved to the steps, the others following. The line 
was still between Mr. Davis's brows. All mounted, wheeled their 
horses, moved into the street. The aides came after, the escort closed 
in behind. With jingle and tramp and music, to salutes and cheer- 
ing, the party bent on inspection of the Vicksburg defences moved 
toward its object. 
The words upon the portico had not of course floated to the ears 



VICKSBURG 31 

of the soldiers below. But the Confederate soldier was as far re- 
moved from an automaton as it is conceivable for a soldier to be. 
Indeed, his initiative in gathering knowledge of all things and 
moods governing the Board of War was at times as inconvenient as 
it was marked. His intuition worked by grapevine. 

"What," asked the soldier nearest Edward, "made the quarrel ?" 

"Old occasions, I believe. Now each is as poison to the 
other." 

The inspection of water batteries and field-works was over, the 
review of the afternoon over. Amid cheering crowds the President 
left Vicksburg for Grenada, with him General Johnston and General 
Pemberton. The regiment which had given Edward Gary hospitality 
made a night march. 

In the cold December dawn they came to a stream where, on the 
opposite bank, a cavalry detail could be made out watering its 
horses. There was a bridge. Infantry crossed and fraternized. 

"What's the news ? We had a big day in Vicksburg yesterday! 
The President and Old Joe — " 

"Have you heard about the raid ?" 

"What raid?" 

"Boys, they have n't heard! — Oh, I see our captain over there 
telling it to your colonel." 

"That's all right! We'll get it from the colonel. But you fellows 
might as well tell — seeing that you 're dying to do it! What 
raid?" 

" Van Dom's raid — our raid ! Raid on Holly Springs ! Raid round 
Grant! Yaaaih! Yaaiihl Yaaaaihl" 

A tall and strong trooper, with a high forehead, deep eyes, arid a 
flowing black beard, began to speak in a voice so deep and sonorous 
that it boomed like a bell across the water. "Van Dom 's a jewel. 
Van Dom loves danger as he might love a woman with a temper. 
When she's smiling she's so white-angry, then he loves her best. 
Van Dom rides a black thoroughbred and rides her hard. Van 
Dom, with his long yellow hair — " 

"Listen to Llewellen chanting like the final bard! — Well, he is 
handsome, — Van Dorn!" 

"He ain't tall, but he 's pretty. Go on, Llewellen!" 

"Van Dom riding like an Indian — " 



32 CEASE FIRING 

"He did fine in the Comanche War. Did you ever hear about the 
arrow?" 

"Van Dom and two thousand of us — two thousand horse! " 

"Dead night and all of them fast asleep ! " 

"Holly Springs — Grant's depot of supplies — three months' 
stores for sixty thousand men — " 

"Burnt all his supplies — cut his lines of communication — cap- 
tured the garrison ! — Hurrah!" 

"Ulysses S. Grant's campaign's deranged — " 

"Reckon Vicksburg's safe for this time! Reckon he'll have to 
trot Sherman back to Memphis — " 

"Reckon he'll have to clear out of Mississippi himself!" 

"Light as hell in the dead night and all of them scampering! 
Hurrah! Van Dorn and two thousand horse — " 

" ' Now, men,' says Van Dorn,' I want Glory with a capital letter, 
and I reckon we 're most of us built the same way! Well, Glory 
Hallelujah- is growing round Grant's army like tiger lilies round a 
beehive — ' " 

"Van Dorn and two thousand horse — took 'em like a thunder- 
clap! Burned three months' supplies for sixty thousand men — cut 
their lines — " 

"Toled danger away from Vicksburg — " 

"Van Dorn and—" 

Fall in I Fall in I 

That evening the infantry regiment bivouacked within sight of 
Grenada. The next morning, early, it swung out toward the Yalla- 
busha. Passing a line of ragged sentries it presently came to a region 
of ragged, huge fields with cotton all ungathered, ragged, luxuriant 
forest growth, ragged, gully-seamed, low hills. From behind one of 
these floated the strains of "Dixie" played by ragged Confederate 
bands. The regiment climbed a few yards and from a copse of yellow 
pine looked down and out upon a ragged plain, an almost tentless 
encampment, and upon a grand review of the Army of the West. 

Halt t In place 1 Rest I 

The regiment, leaning on its muskets, watched through a veil of 
saplings. Officers and men were vividly interested and comment 
was free, though carried on in low tones. Not far below waved the 
colours marking the reviewing-stand. The music of the massed 



VICKSBURG 33 

bands came from the right, while in front a cluster of well-mounted 
men was moving down the great field from division to division. A 
little in advance rode two figures. "The President and General 
Johnston," said the colonel and the major and the captains. "Old 
Joe and the President," remarked the men. 

The day was bright and still and just pleasantly cold. A few white 
clouds sailed slowly from west to east, the sky between of the clearest 
azure. A deep line of trees, here bare or partly bare, here evergreen, 
marked the course of the Yallabusha. The horizon sank away in 
pxuple mist. The sun came down and glinted brightly on sixteen 
thousand bayonets, and all the flags glowed and moved like living 
things. The trumpets brayed, the drums beat; there stood out 
the lieutenant-general, Pemberton, the major-generals, Loring and 
Dabney Maury and Earl Van Dom, the latter laurel-crowned from 
as brilliant a raid as the War had seen. Back to the colours flutter- 
ing beneath a live-oak came the reviewing party. Brigade by brig- 
ade, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, the army passed in review. 

Past the President of the Confederacy went an array of men that, 
in certain respects, could only be matched in the whole earth by the 
other armies of that Confederacy. They were of a piece with the 
Army of Tennessee now operating near Chattanooga, and [with 
the Army of Northern Virginia now watching Burnside across the 
Rappahannock, and with other grey forces scattered over the vast 
terrain of the War. 

It emerged at once how spare they were and young and ragged. 
There were men from well-nigh every Southern State; from Georgia, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Kentucky, the 
Carolinas; — but whether they came from lands of cotton and cane, 
or lands of apple and wheat, they were alike lean and bronzed and 
ragged and young. Men in their prime were there, and men past 
their prime; there did not lack grey-beards. Despite this, the im- 
pression was overwhelmingly one of youth. Oh, the young, young 
men, and lean as Indians in winter! Brigade by brigade, — infan- 
try, cavalry, artillery, — with smoke-stained, shot-riddled colours, 
with bright , used muskets, with the guns, with the war-horses, with 
the bands playing "Dixie," they went by Mr. Davis and General 
Johnston beneath the live-oak. 

Toward noon the regiment from Vicksburg found its chance to 



34 CEASE FIRING 

report, and a little later Edward Gary rejoined his command. The 
command was glad to see him; not all his comrades understood him, 
but they liked him exceedingly. That night, the first lieutenant, 
with whom at the University, he had read George Sand and the 
dramas of M. Victor Hugo, found him seated under a yellow pine 
with a pine stump for table, and a pine torch for lamp, slowly cover- 
ing with strong, restrained handwriting, several sheets of bluish 
Gonfederate paper. 

The lieutenant threw himself down upon the pine needles. " Writ- 
ing home?" 

"No. Not to-night." 

Two letters lay addressed in their envelopes. The lieutenant, 
weary and absent-minded, took them up, fingering them without 
thinking. Edward drew the letter he was writing into the shadow, 
guarded it with his arm, and, smiling, held out the other hand. 

Colonel Henry Gaillard, 

Louisiana Gavalry, 

Mobile, 

Alabama. 

Captain Louis Gaillard, 

Louisiana, 

Barton's Brigade — 

read the lieutenant. He dropped the letters. "I am sure I beg your 
pardon, Gary! I did n't in the least think what I was doing!" 

"There's no harm done, Morton." He repossessed himself of the 
letters, struck the torch at another angle, and turned from the forest 
table. "Morton, I'm going in for promotion." 

The lieutenant laid down his pipe. "Well, if you go in for it, I'll 
back you to get it, but I thought you said — " 

"I did." 

"What do you want it for? Vain-glory ? " 

Edward locked his hands behind his head. "No; not for vain- 
glory — though it 's remarkable how brothers and fathers and kins- 
folk generally like the clang of 'Colonel' or 'Brigadier '! After the 
Merrimac and Monitor I wouldn't take promotion, but I did 



VICKSBURG 2s 

get a furlough. . . . Morton, I 'm going in for furloughs and a 

lieutenant-colonelcy. Back me up, will you ?" 
"Oh, we'll all do that !" quoth Morton. "You might have 

entered as captain and been an3rthing most by now — " 
"I did n't care to bother. But now I thmk I will." 
."All right!" said Morton. "I gather that presently there will be 

chances thick as blackberries." 



CHAPTER IV 

CHICKASAW BAYOU 

FOR ages and ages, water, ceaselessly streaming, ceaselessly 
seeping, through and over the calcareous silt, had furrowed the 
region until now there was a medley and labyrinth of narrow 
ravines and knife-blade ridges. Where the low grounds opened out 
it was apparently only that they might accommodate bayous, or 
some extension of a bayou, called by courtesy a lake. Along these the 
cane was thick, and backward from the cane rose trees and trees and 
trees, all draped with Spanish moss. It had been a rainy winter, a 
winter of broken banks and slow, flooding waters. Sloughs strayed 
through the forest; there was black mire around cypress and magnolia 
and oak. The growth in the ravines was dense, that upon the ridges 
only less so. From Vicksburg, northward for several miles, great 
clearings had recently been made. Here, from the Upper Batteries 
above the town to Haynes Bluff on the Yazoo, stretched grey field- 
works, connected by rifle-pits. 

Chickasaw Bayou, sullen and swollen, curved away from the 
scarped hills and the strip of forest. On the other side of Chickasaw, 
and of that width of it known as McNutt's Lake, there was shaking 
ground — level enough, but sodden, duskily overgrown, and diflS- 
cult. This stretched to the Yazoo. 

Down the Mississippi from Memphis came Sherman with thirty 
thousand blue infantry. They came in transports, in four flotillas, 
and in front went Porter's Gunboat Squadron. Grant had planned 
the campaign. With the forces which had been occupying south- 
western Tennessee, he himself was at Oxford. He would operate by 
land, overwhelming or holding in check Pemberton's eighteen thou- 
sand at Grenada. In the mean time Sherman, descending the Mis- 
sissippi to the mouth of the Yazoo, some miles above Vicksburg and 
its river batteries, should ascend that stream, flowing as it did not 
far to the northward of the doomed town; — ascend the Yazoo, 
disembark the thirty thousand, and with a sudden push take Vicks- 



CHICKASAW BAYOU 37 

burg in the rear. It was known that there were but five thousand 
troops in the place. 

The plan was a good plan, but Van Dom disarranged it. Grant, 
his base of supplies at Holly Springs captured and all his stores de- 
stroyed, was compelled to fall back toward Memphis. He sent an 
order to Sherman, coimtermanding £he river expedition, but Sher- 
man had started and was well down the vast yellow stream, the 
gxmboats going ahead. 

On the twenty-third of December these entered the Yazoo, to be 
followed, three days later, by four flotillas. There ensued several 
days of Federal reconnoitring. The Yazoo, not so tortuous as the 
great stream into which it flowed, was yet tortuous enough, and in 
places out of banks, while the woods and swamps on either side were 
confusing, wild, and dark. Necessary as it may have been, the pro- 
cedure militated against taking a city by surprise. The grey had 
notice of the gunboats, and of the trail of flotillas. 

Pemberton acted with promptness and judgment. Grant was not 
so far away that the forces at Grenada could be utterly weakened, 
but the brigades of Barton, Vaughn, and Gregg were detached at 
once for Vicksburg. There, on the line from the sandbar north of the 
town to Ha)aies Bluff, they joined the provisional division of Stephen 
D. Lee. The position was strong. The grey held the ridges crowned 
by field-works and rifle-pits. Before them spread the dark, marsh- 
ridden bottom land, crept through, slow and deep, by Chickasaw 
Bayou. They had greatly the advantage of position, but there were, 
on the strip between the Yazoo and the Walnut Hills, four men in 
blue to one in grey. At the last moment, in answer to a representa- 
tion from General Martin Luther Smith, commanding the defences 
at Vicksburg, an additional regiment was despatched from Grenada. 
It chanced to be the th Virginia Infantry. 

The night was cold, very dark, and pouring rain. Vicksburg had 
been reached at dusk. There seemed no soldiers here. "Everybody's 
out toward McNutt's Lake. Reckon you're wanted there, too!" 

The ^th Virginia found at last the man to report to, upon the 

heels of which event, without having tasted supper or experienced 
warmth, it discovered itself on the road to Chickasaw Bayou. "On 
the road" is merely a figure of speech. The regiment concluded 
that some time in the Bronze Age there might have been a road, 



38 CEASE FIRING 

but that since then it had been washed away. This was the Mud 
Age. 

In the pitchy dark, the chill, arrowy rain, the men stumbled 
along. Except for an occasional order, an occasional exclamation, 
impatient groan, long-drawn sigh, there was silence. They had 
some miles to go. To keep step was out of the question. 

Edward Gary, closing his file, moved with a practised, light steadi- 
ness. His body was very supple, fine, with long clean lines. From 
head to heel he was in order, like a Greek rimner. Spare and worn 
and tired like all the rest, he kept at all times a certain lift and poise 
as though there were wings upon his cap. 

He was not like Richard Cleave. He had little innate feeling for 
War, intuitive understanding of all its phases. Being with all his 
people plunged deep, deep within it, he played his part there bravely 
enough. He served his native land, and her need and woe dwelt 
with him as it dwelt with all his world, both men and women. Much 
of him, perforce, was busy with the vast and mournful stage. But 
he found himself not truly at home with the war-drums and the 
wailing, with smell of blood and smoke, weight of shot-riddled ban- 
ners, trampled faces. He was born for beauty and her worship, for 
spacious order and large harmony, and for months now there had 
been war and agony and smell of blood and sight of pale, twisted 
faces — for long months only that. And then somehow, accidentally 
it seemed, he had rubbed the lamp. Only ten days ago — oh, light 
and warmth and harmony! Oh, the strange and sweet in combina- 
tion! Oh, serene spaces for the mind! Oh, golden piping and beck- 
oning to emotions not stem! Oh, the deepest, oldest wine! Oh, by 
the oddest, simplest chance, sudden as a wind from Heaven, intim- 
acy warm and fragrant with the Only-Dreamed-Of, the Never- 
Found-Before! Oh, in a word, the love of Desiree Gaillard! 

He was marching through the dark night, the mire, the cold, the 
wet. Certain centres of consciousness, no doubt, knew them all, — 
knew hunger, cold, weariness. But the overman, the Lover, moved 
through rose-scented dusk, through intricate, sweet thoughts, in 
some imaged Vale of Cashmere. Only not at all, not at all could he 
banish anxiety as to the Beloved's well-being. 

About him, in the night, was the tramp, tramp of other weary 
feet, the dim sight and sound of other weary bodies, cold, wet, thinly 



CHICKASAW BAYOU 39 

dad. Most of these men in the darkness thought, perhaps, of beings 

far away from these labs^rinthine ridges and hollows. Many a soldier 

wanned his heart by the fires of home, dreamed as he marched of 

lover, wife, or child. But the thoughts were shot with pain and the 

dreams were bitter sweet. No man in a Southern army could take 

comfort in the thought that whatever of want and strain and boding 

might obtain where he moved, raggedy through the darkness, all was 

well at home — comfort there, warmth and food there, ease of heart 

there! Many knew that at home there was immediate suffering; 

others, that while the board was spread to-night, yet the dark sail of 

privation grew larger and larger. All knew that there was little, little 

ease of heart. Marching through the rainy night they carried with 

them, heavier than musket and haversack, the ache of all at home, as, 

upon this night, all at home felt cold and gaimt with the marching, 

marching armies. Yet the South at home managed to keep a high 

head and a ready smile, and the South in the field managed a jest, 

a laugh, a song. At home and in the field vast need and stress lifted 

the man, lifted the woman, lifted the child. Some one in the th 

Virginia, moving out to Chickasaw Bayou, began to sing jerkily — 

"Old Dan Tucker! 
You too late to get your supper — " 

The regiment climbed another of the innumerable mole-hills, all 
stumps of recently felled trees, and between, tenacious and horrible 
mud. The far side was worse than the near, and the bottom land, 
when finally they slipped and slid and wavered down upon it, proved 
mere quagmire. Here they foimd, deeply mired, two sections of 
artillery, bound as they were bound and struggling with the night. 
Gun wheels were sunken above the axle-tree; it seemed a mud burial, 
a question of never getting out. One heard straining gun teams, 
chattering negro drivers. There were torches, saffron blurs of light, 
hissed against by the rain, moving up and down like dejected will- 
o'-the-wisps. 

Infantry came up. "Halfway to China, are n't you ? Want us to 
lend a hand?" 

"Thank you, boys! William, tell those mules to pull harder." 
" What are you doing with mules ? Has it come to mule artillery? " 
"Well, it's coming to so many things! — We're Army of Ten- 
nessee — Stevenson's division — come down to help hold the 



40 CEASE FIRING 

Mississippi River. Right big eel, is n't it ? Rushed through — two 
sections, Anderson's battery — from Jackson. Horses yet on the 
road. Impressed mules. — Lieutenant Norgrove, tell those darkies 
there 's a watermelon field in front of them and 'pateroUers' behind! 
— Pull there! pull!" 

The howitzer came slowly up from halfway to China, the Napoleon 
followed, infantry encouraging. "You've trained your mules 
quick! That gun came from the Tredegar, did n't it ? Artillery's a 
mighty no-account arm, but you sort of somehow grow fond of it — " 

"Are n't you all Virginia?" 

"Yes; th Virginia. Are n't you all — " 

"Of course we are! Botetourt. Anderson's battery. — What's 
the matter, Flecker?" 

"Firing ahead, sir, and those negroes are getting ready to stamp- 
ede—" 

There broke and increased a wild night-time sputter of minies. 
Panic took the chance medley of negroes. They sprang from the 
horses, paid no heed to appeal or threat, twisted themselves from 
clutching hands, and vanished into darkness. Artillery, infantry 
helping, got the guns on somehow. Amid a zip — zip — zip of 
minies both arms came to a grey breastwork where Stephen D. Lee 
was walking up and down behind a battery already placed. 

The dull light and rattle of skirmishes in the night died away. 
With it died, too, the rain. The dawn came spectrally, with a mist 
over McNutt's Lake. One of Sherman's division commanders had 
received orders to bridge this water during the night. Over the 
mournful, water-logged land the pontoons were brought from the 
Yazoo. Standing in the chill water, under the sweep of rain the blue 
engineers and their men worked courageously away, but when dawn 
came the pale light discovered the fact that they had not bridged the 
lake at all, but merely a dim, Briareus arm of the bayou, wandering 
off into the forest. They took up the pontoons, moved down the 
shore to the widening of the water, and tried again. But now the 
water was too wide. There were not boats enough, and while they 
were making a raft, the wood across McNutt's filled with men, grey 
as the dawn. Tawny-red broke the flames from the sharpshooters' 
rifles. A well-placed Confederate battery began, too, to talk, and 
the lake was not bridged. 



CHICKASAW BAYOU 41 

Barton's brigade had come down to occupy the wood. When the 
bridge builders were driven away, it fell back to the high ground 
crested with slight works, seamed with rifle-pits, where were Vaughn 
and Gregg and Stephen D. Lee. Across the bayou the blue began to 
mass. There was a strip of corduroy road, a meagre bridge spanning 
the main bayou, then a narrow encumbered front, muck and mire 
and cypress stumps, and all the felled trees thrown into a grey abatis. 
The blue had as many divisions as the grey had brigades, but the 
grey position was very strong. On came the dull, December day, — 
raw, cold, with a lowering sky. 

The blue, assaulting force, the blue reserves, the division com- 
manders, drew shoulders together, brows together, and looked 
across and upward doubtfully enough at the bluffs they were ex- 
pected to take. Wade the bayou, break through the cane, cross that 
narrow front of brush and morass, attack at the apex of a triangle 
whose base and sides were held by an unknown number of desperate 
Rebels defending Vicksburg, a place that had got the name for ob- 
stinacy! — the blue troops and their generals, however hard they 
tried, could not at all visualize success. All the prospect, — the 
opposite height and the small grey batteries, the turbid, winding 
waters and the woods so strange to Northern eyes, — all was 
hostile, lowering. Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa drew uneasy breath, 
it was so sinister a place! 

An officer came from Sherman to the senior division commander. 
" General Sherman says, sir, that you will order the assault." 

"It's a bad place—" 

"Yes. He says we will lose five thousand men before we take 
Vicksburg and that we might as well lose them here as anywhere." 

"All right. We'll lose them all right. Tell him I'll give the 
signal." 

A grey rifle-pit, dug along the face of the hill, had received since 
dawn the attention of blue sharpshooters stationed in a distant row 
of moss-draped trees. The bottom of the long trench was all slippery 
mud, the sides were mud, the out-thrown, heaped earth atop was 
mud. Rest a rifle barrel upon it and the metal sank as into water. 
The screen of scrub along the forward rim was drenched, broken, 
insufficient. Through it the men in the pit looked out on a sodden 
world. They saw a shoulder of the hill where, in the early light, the 



42 CEASE FIRING 

caisson of an isolated gun had been exploded by a Federal shell. 
Horses and men lay beside it, mangled. Farther away yet, and 
earlier yet, they had seen a reconnoitring party enter a finger of 
land crooking toward the Federal lines, and beyond the cover of the 
grey guns. The blue, too, had seen, and thrusting forward a regi- 
ment cut off the grey party. The bulk of the latter hewed its way 
through, back to the shelter of the grey Parrotts, but there were 
officers and men left wounded in the wood. — The day was gloomy, 
gloomy! The smoke from Stephen Lee's guns and from the answer- 
ing Federal batteries hung dlogged and indiffusible, dark and hard. 

"Somebody's going to get hurt this day," said the men in the 
rifle-pits. "There ain't any joke about this place." 

"Do you know I think they're going to charge us? Just as brave 
as they are foolish!" 

"I don't think much of Sherman's capacities as a general. Grant's 
the better man." 

"They're getting ready. — Well, I always did hate waste, what- 
ever colour it was dressed in!" 

"My God! Even their bugles don't sound cheerful! — 

Chickasaw — Chickasaw' Bayou 

The death of you — the death of you I " 

Edward Gary, loading his rifle, had the cartridge knocked from 
between his fingers by the swa3dng against him of the man on the 
right. He moved, and the corpse slid softly down upon the miry 
bottom of the pit. 

The man on the left began to talk, a slow, quiet discourse not 
at all interfering with eye or hand. "Western troops, I reckon! 
They've always the best sharpshooters. — Is he dead? I'm sorry. 
I liked Abner. He had an application in for furlough. Wife ill after 
the baby was born, and the doctor writing that there might be a 
chance to save her mind if she could see Abner. Told me last night 
he was sure he'd get the furlough. — Can you see for those damned 
bushes ? There's a perfectly hellish fuss down there." 

"The guns echo so. Here they come! And God knows I am sorry 
for them — for Abner here and Abner there! Martin, I hate War." 

"It ain't exactly Christian, and it's so damned avoidable. — 
The baby died, and I reckon his wife — and she was a sweet, pretty 
girl — '11 go to the Asylum at Williamsburg — " 



CHICKASAW BAYOU 43 

"Here they come! — Here they come! — Here they come!" . . . 
Fire! 

... At last the dreadful repulse was over. Shattered, disorgan- 
ized, in sullen and horrible confusion, Sherman's brigades, the four 
that had charged, sank downward and back, a torn and beaten blue 
wave, into the dark forest beyond the bayou, the bayou whence 
they had come. In the water, in the mire and marsh and swamp, 
beside the sloughs in the forest, through the wild tangle of the abatis, 
over the narrow cleared ground, at the foot of the bluffs they had 
tried to storm, lay thick the dead and wounded. They did not 
number Sherman's "five thousand," but then neither was Vicksburg 
taken. The blue had charged without order, all formation broken, 
forced together in a narrow space, and they had rolled, a broken 
flood, back upon the dark bayou. As the rain had fallen in the night- 
time, so now fell the grey shot and shell, and they were beaten down 
like wheat beneath hail. The chill air was filled with whistling. The 
pall of the smoke added itself to the pall of the clouds. It was like 
fighting under a great and dingy tent with the stark cypress trees 
for tent poles. By the closing-down of day the desperately defeated 
had rolled back toward the Yazoo. Their dead and dying strewed 
the tent floor. 

If there was relief and exultation on the heights it found no stren- 
uous voice. The dreariness of the day and place, the streaming 
wet and sighing wind somehow forbade. The grey loss was slight 
enough — two hundred men, perhaps, in killed and wounded. 
Some lay within or below the rude works, some upon the hillside and 
the low ground where there had been a countercharge, some down 
by the abatis, fallen before the pursuit was recalled. It had been idle 
really to pursue. Sherman had thirty thousand, and the gunboats. 
A detachment or two streamed down, over the fatal and difficult 
ground, dislodging from a momentary shelter some fragment of the 
blue wave, cutting off and taking prisoner. Occasional thunder came 
from a battery, or a crack of rifles shook the clinging gloom. But 
the atmosphere deadened the sound, and the rain came down again 
fine and cold, and though the grey soldiers had reason for cheer and 
tried their best, it was but a makeshift glee. They had known hot 
joy in battle and would know it again, but it did not haunt the fight 
of Chickasaw Bayou. 



44 CEASE FIRING 

There were yet the wounded that the reconnoitring party had left 
behind in the twilight wood. Volunteers were called for to bring 
them in. The wood crooked toward the enemy's lines, might at 
any moment be overflowed by the blue. Edward was among those 
who stood forward. The lieutenant of the other night beside the 
Yallabusha raised his brows. "Don't volunteer too often," he said. 
"There's no promotion in a trench with a hundred others! Fur- 
loughs can be too long." 

In the dusk the platoon went zigzagging down into the wood by 
the bayou. It went through the zone of Federal wounded. "Oh, you 
•people 1 take us up; take us out of this! God — O God — Godl 
Water!" To the last cry neither grey nor blue in this war failed to 
answer when they could. Despite all need for haste and caution 
there were halts now, canteen or cup held to thirsty lips, here or 
there a man helped nearer to muddy pool or stream. " Take us up — 
take us out of this!" 

The grey shook their heads. "Can't do that, Yanks. We would 
if we could, but we're sent to get our own. Reckon your side '11 be 
sending a flag of truce directly and gather you up. Oh, yes, they 
will! We would if we could. You charged like hell and fought first- 
rate!" 

"Silence, men! Get on!" 

It was dusk enough in the wood which they finally reached. The 
bayou went through it crookedly, and from the other side of the 
water came the hum of Sherman's troubled, recriminatory thou- 
sands. They were so close that orders might be heard and the tread 
of the sentries. The men in grey broke rank, moved, two and two, 
cautiously through the cane looking for the wounded. The cane 
grew thick, and for all it was so sodden wet might be trusted here or 
there for a crackling sound. The trees grew up straight from black 
mud. They were immensely tall and from their branches hung 
yards and yards of moss, like tatters of old sails or. like shrivelled 
banners in a cathedral roof. Large birds sat, too, upon the higher 
limbs, watching. Beneath lay killed and wounded, a score or so of 
forms half sunk in the universal swamp. The searchers left the dead, 
but where there was life in a figure they laid hold of it, head and feet, 
and bore it, swiftly and silently as might be, out of the wood, back 
to the rising, protected ground. 



CHICKASAW BAYOU 45 

Edward and the man with him found an officer lying between 
huge knees of cypress. The cane walled him in, a hand and arm 
himg languid in the dark water. Kneeling, Edward felt the heart. 
"He's far and far away, but there's a chance, perhaps. Take the 
feet." 

Half an hour later, by a great camp-fire behind a battery, sur- 
geons and helpers took these wounded from the hands of the men 
who had gone after them. 

Stephen D. Lee and General Seth Barton were standing by. 
"Thank God," said the former, "for a small field hospital! After 
Sharpsburg — ugh ! " 

A major of Wither's brigade walked slowly between the rows. 

" It was the th Louisiana cut off in the wood. There 's an officer 

or two missing — " 

"This is an officer, sir," said Edward. "He was living when we 
lifted him— " 

General Barton came across. "He is not living now. A handsome 
man! . . . He lies .there so stately. . . . A captain." 

Edward held out his hand — in it an envelope. " This fell from his 
coat, sir. The bullet went through it — " The movement brought 
hand and letter into the ruddy light. Involuntarily he uttered an 
exclamation. "It is addressed to me!" 

The major rose from his knees. "Quite dead. . . . And you 
would have called him Fortune's favorite. It is Louis Gaillard 
from down the river — Cape Jessamine." 



CHAPTER V 

FORT PEMBERTON 

VAN Dorn's raid and the battle of Chickasaw Bayou made 
of naught the December '62 — ^[January '63 push against 
Vicksburg. Grant fell back to Memphis. McClernand, 
Sherman's superior, withdrew the thirty thousand column from 
before the Walnut Hills, to the Yazoo and down it, into the Missis- 
sippi and up that vast and turbid stream. His forces reunited, Grant, 
a stubborn, good soldier, studied in his quiet fashion, a cigar between 
his teeth, the map of the region. His instinct was always to strike out 
straight before him. The river, for all its windings, was the directest 
road tc Vicksburg. Late in January he brought a great army down 
the Mississippi and landed it on the Louisiana side, some miles 
above the town that must be taken. Here, too, above the line of 
danger from the grey river batteries, he anchored his ships-of- 
war. 

During the past summer the Federal General Williams had con- 
ceived the project of canalling the tongue of land opposite Vicks- 
burg, the almost islanded sliver of Louisiana soil. Cut through this 
thumblike projection, fill your great ditch from the river, let your 
fleet enter at Tuscumbia Bend, and hey, presto! emerge again upon 
the bosom of the Mississippi below Vicksburg, the grey river batter- 
ies sweetly ignored; in a word all the grey defences of the Mississippi 
above Grand Gulf circumvented! The canal seemed worth digging, 
and so, in the summer, the blue had digged. But the summer was 
dry and the river low; it refused to enter the prepared by-path, and 
after a series of disappointments the digging had been discontinued. 
Now the season was wet, and the river brimming. With a large 
force of engineers and sappers. Grant began again upon the canal. 
But now there was too much moisture as before there had been too 
little. The water was so high that it ran into a hundred paths beside 
the one which the blue were digging. It turned the flat Louisiana 
shore into lake and quagmire. Impossible to trench with the semi- 



FORT PEMBERTON 47 

liquid stuff flowing in as fast as it was thrown out! — impossible to 
keep an army encamped in a morass! Again there was a with- 
drawal. 

From higher ground and reaches of the river far above Vicksburg, 
Grant, the cigar between his teeth, parallel lines showing across his 
forehead, studied flank movements. . . . The Yazoo again! — 
though it seemed a stream of ill omen. Not that Grant thought of 
omens. He was not superstitious. A plain, straightforward, not over- 
imaginative, introspective, or sophisticated person, he did not so 
muci plan great campaigns as take, unswervingly, the next common- 
sense step. His merit was that, in the all-pervading fog of war, it was 
usually upon firm groimd that he set his step. Not always, but usu- 
ally. The Yazoo. ... It flowed southward from the Tennessee 
line. There it was called the Coldwater. Farther down, in north- 
em Mississippi it became the Tallahatchie, into which flowed the 
Yallabusha. Lower yet it was named the Yazoo, and so flowed into 
the Mississippi. Throughout its course it drained a vast, flat, egg- 
shaped lowland, overshot by innumerable lesser streams, lakes, and 
bayous, rising into ridge and bluff at the southern end of the egg. 
Named the Valley of the Yazoo, it was reported to be enormously 
fertfle and a storehouse from which Vicksburg and all the exagger- 
ated grey armies in Tennessee and Mississippi were fed. Moreover, 
at Yazoo City, where the three-named stream became finally the 
Yazoo, there existed, said Secret Service, a big Confederate navy 
yard where gunboats were rapidly hatching. To get into that valley 
from the northern end, come down those rivers, surprise Yazoo City 
and spoil the nest of gunboats, then on like a swooping hawk and take 
Vicksburg in the rear! . . . Grant put out his hand for another 
cigar. But the Valley of the Yazoo was said to be in effect roadless, 
and though the Yazoo from Yazoo City downwards was navigable, 
the Tallahatchie and the Coldwater were not. Then came in Ad- 
miral Porter with a well-considered plan, though an audacious one 
and ticklishly dependent upon a thousand circumstances. 

Some distance below Memphis there was a point where the Miss- 
issippi and the Coldwater came within calling distance of each 
other. Between was only the Yazoo Pass — and Yazoo Pass was a 
bayou which anciently had connected the two. Anciently, not now; 
for years before a levee had been built, shutting off bayou from river, 



48 CEASE FIRING 

and preventing untoward floods in the upper Yazoo Valley. Assemble 
a fleet over against Yazoo Pass, cut the levee, and so lift the water 
in the Coldwater and the Tallahatchie, then proceed down those 
streams with the vessels-of-war and as many transports as needed, 
take Yazoo City, enter the Yazoo, and so on triumphantly! Grant 
chewed the end of his cigar, then nodded acquiescence. 

On the third of February, after much time spent in digging, they 
laid and exploded a mine. The levee broke in rout and ruin. Like a 
tiger from the jungle out leaped the Mississippi, roaring down to the 
bayou. Yazoo Pass became a furious yellow torrent, here spume 
and eddy, here torn arms of trees, an abatis in motion. The Cold- 
water received the flood and bore it on to the Tallahatchie. But so 
angry were the churning waters by the gate in the levee that days 
passed before the ironclads DeKalb and Chillicothe, the rams Fulton 
and Lioness, the tinclads Forest Rose, Marmora, Rattler, Romeo, 
Petrel, and Signal, and all the transports in the rear could attempt 
that new-made passage. At last they did enter the Yazoo Pass and 
made slow way to the Coldwater, only presently to find that the 
grey troops had felled the tall, tall trees on either bank and thrown 
them into the stream. There, arms interlocked, they made for miles 
an effective barrier, removed only after slow days and days of effort. 
The stream wound like a tortured serpent. There presented them- 
selves strange currents, pits, and shoals. The bed was unknown, 
save that it possessed a huge variety of snag, bar, and obstacle. The 
flood was narrow, and the thick overhanging forest obscured and 
fretted. Every turn presented a fresh difficulty. The fleet made 
three miles a day. Behind it crept, crept the transports, forty-five 
hundred men under Generals Ross and Quinby. There was much 
sickness and the fret, fret of utter delay. It was late February before 
the expedition entered the Coldwater, early March before it ap- 
proached the Tallahatchie. Here it encountered afresh felled trees 
like endless bundles of jackstraws, thrown vigorously, crossed under 
water at every imaginable angle. A little later the blue scouts 
brought news of Fort Pemberton. 

The Southern spring was at hand, a mist of young leaf and bloom, 
a sound of birds, a sapphire sky, a vapour, a warmth, a rhythm. 
Edward Cary loved it, and said that he did so, lying after supper, on 
th^bank of the Tallahatchie, under the cotton-bale rampart of the 



FORT PEMBERTON 49 

cotton-bale fort that was to keep the enemy out of the Yazoo. The 
rest of the mess agreed — lovely spring, lovely evening! They lit 
corn-cob pipes and day pipes and fig-stem pipes, and stretched 
themselves on a meagre bit of dry earth, beside a clump of Spanish 
bayonet. The sun dipped behind the woods across the river, leaving 
air and water an exquisite coral. There were seven men — five pri- 
vates, a corporal, and a sergeant-major. All were tall and all were 
lean and none was over thirty. One bore an old Huguenot name 
and the forbear of one was a Highland chief. The others were mainly 
of English stock, names of Devon, Surrey, and Sussex. Two were 
university men, sons of great planters, born into a sunny and settled 
world that after their majority overclouded. Three had less of that 
kind of fortime and had left for the war a lawyer's oflSce, a tobacco 
warehouse, and an experiment in mining. The sergeant-major was 
of the yeoman tj^e, a quiet man with little book learning and a name 
in the regiment for courage and resource. The seventh man, very 
young, a grown-up-anyhow bit of mortality, who until he came to 
handle steel had worked in iron, stood next, perhaps, to Edward Cary 
in the affections of the mess. Dreadful as was this war, it had as a 
by-product the lessening of caste. Men came together and worked 
together as men, not as conventions. 

"Yes, it is lovely," said the warehouse man. "I used to think a 
deal about beauty." 

"Woman's beauty?" 

"No. Just plain beauty. Cloud or sea or face or anywhere you 
found it. At the end of every furrow, as Jim might say." 

Jim, who was the sergeant, shook out rings of smoke. "It ain't 
only at the end of the furrow. I've seen it in the middle." 

The worker in iron stretched his thin body, hands imder his young 
head. "I like fall better 'n spring. Late fall when it's all red and 
still, and at night there are shooting stars. Spring makes me 
sad." 

"What are you doing with sadness?" asked Edward. "You had 
as well talk of Jack-o'-Lantern being sad! — I like all seasons, each 
with its proper magnificence! Look at that pine, black as wrath — " 

"Look at the pink water about the old Star of the West — 

' The charmed water burnt alway 
A still and awful red.'" 



50 CEASE FIRING 

"I hated to see the Star sunken. After all her fighting — Sumter 
and all — " 

"Well, we've put her where she'll fight again! It's a kind of Val- 
halla ending to lie there across Grant's path." 

"You can see a bit of spar. And the rosy water all around — rosy 
as hope. Do you hear that bird over there in the swamp? Boom — 
boom — boom! Mournful as a whip-poor-will. . . . Heavens! if I 
could hear the whip-poor-wills in Virginia! — Have you got any 
tobacco?" 

The soldier from the lawyer's office sat up. "Grand Rounds? 
No. It's the General by himself! Heard him say once he had a taste 
for sunsets." 

Loring, one-armed since Mexico, impatiently brave, with a gift 
for phrases, an air, and a bearing, came down the threadlike path 
through the palmetto scrub. With three guns and fifteen hundred 
men he held this absurd structure called Fort Pemberton, and from 
hour to hour glanced up the Tallahatchie with an experienced and 
careless eye. If he expected anything more than a play flotilla of 
cock-boats, his demeanour did not show it. In practice, however, he 
kept a very good drill and outlook, his pieces trained, his earthworks 
stout as they might be in the water-soaked bottom lands, and he had 
with discretion sunk the Star of the West where she lay, cross chan- 
nel, above the fort. He was very well liked by his soldiers. 

The seven on the river bank rose and saluted. He made the an- 
swering gesture, then after a moment of gazing up the Tallahatchie 
walked over to a great piece of driftwood and seated himself, draw- 
ing his cloak about him with his one hand. 

" I want to study that water a bit. Go on with your pipes, men. 
— I thought I smelled coffee." 

"It was made of sweet potato, sir," said the sergeant-major re- 
gretfully, "and I'm afraid we did n't leave a drop. We're mighty 
sorry, sir." 

"Well," said Loring amicably, "I don't really like sweet potato 
coffee, though I'd drink brimstone coffee if there were no other kind 
of coffee around. That's one of the things I never could understand 
about General Jackson — he never drinks coffee. The time we could 
all have sold our souls for coffee was that damned Bath and 
Romney trip . . . Ugh!" He gazed a moment longer on the rosy, 



FORT PEMBERTON 51 

narrow stream and the violet woods across, then turned his eyes. 

"You're th Virginia? There isn't one of you a Gary by 

chance?" 

"I am Edward Gary, sir." 

" Gome across," said Loring; and when hecamegave him aknotted 
arm of the driftwood. "I heard from Fauquier Gary not long ago, 
and he said you were down this way and to look out for you. He said 
he did n't know whether you were a survival or a prophecy, but that 
anyhow your family idolized you. He said that from all he had read 
and observed War had an especial spite against your kind — which, 
perhaps," said Loring, "is not a thing to tell you." 

Edward laughed. "As to War, sir, the feeling is reciprocal. He's 
of those personalities who do not improve on acquaintance. — Dear 
Eaiiquier! The family idolizes him now, if you like!" 

" Yes, he 's of the finest. I knew him in Mexico. Gallant as they 
make them! — He has lost an arm." 

"Yes — at Sharpsburg." 

"It's no little loss," said Loring. "By the way — you knew 
Maury Stafford?" 

"Yes." 

"The word 'Sharpsburg' brought him up. He was taken prisoner 
there — unfortunate fellow! There has been no exchange ?" 

"I have heard of none. They will not exchange." 

"Lifernal tactics!" 

"It 's all infernal. I have grown to see no sense in this war. North 
and South, we surely might have been wiser." 

"That may be," said Loring. "But we are in it now and must 
act according to tradition. — Maury Stafford! — He was with me 
during that wretched, abortive, freezing, and starving Romney 
expedition. I was very fond of him. It aches me to think of him in 
prison." 

Edward sighed. "Yes, I am sorry, too." 

" Was he not," asked Loring, " was he not engaged to your sister? " 

"No." 

"Indeed? I thought some one told me so. . , . He has a fine 
nature." 

"In many ways — yes." 
"Well, we may be talking of the dead. No one seems to have 



52 CEASE FIRING 

heard. It's like a tomb — prison! North and South, they die like 
flies. . . . Damn it all, such is war!" 

"Yes, sir. ... I beg your pardon, but isn't there something 
moving on the river — very far up, beyond that line of purple ? " 

Loring whipped out his field-glass, looked, and rose from the 
driftwood. "Gunboats!" A bugle blew from the earth-and-cotton- 
bale fort, drums began to roll. "Get to your places, men! If Grant 
thinks I am going to let him get by here, he's just mistaken, that's 
all!" 

With three guns and fifteen hundred men and cotton-bale walls 
and the sunken Star of the West, Loring made good his words — 
though it was not Grant in front of him, but Grant's Heutenants. 
Two ironclads, two rams, seven tinclads crept up that night, anchor- 
ing above the sunken Star. Behind them came slowly on the trans- 
ports with the forty-five hundred infantry. Dawn broke, and the 
gunboats, feeling their way, found the Star. Vexation and delay! 
They undertook to blow her up, and while they sank torpedoes the 
transports nosed along the river bank trying to find firm landing in a 
bottom country flooded alike by the spring rains and the far-away 
broken levee. They could not find it, and on board there was rest- 
lessness and complaining. The Star of the West was hard to raise. 
She clung fast, fought stanchly still for the Stars and Bars. . . . The 
third day the Chillicothe and DeKalb got by, steamed down to the 
fort, and began a raking fire. The rams, too, and several of the tin- 
clads came wriggling through the clearance in the channel. There 
followed a three days' bombardment of the crazy fort, all hastily 
heaped earth and cotton bales, rude trenches, rough platforms for 
the guns, all squat in the marshy land, wreathed with cannon smoke, 
musket smoke, topped by the red square with the blue and starry 
cross! Behind the screen of the gunboats the transports sought con- 
tinuously for some terra firma where the troops might land. They 
could not find it. All was swamp,overflowingwaters,half-submerged 
trees. Above waved Spanish moss, swung vines spangled with sweet- 
smelling, satiny yellow bloom. 

The smoke from the river, the smoke from Loring's three guns and 
fifteen hundred muskets met and blended, and, spreading, roofed 
out the cerulean, tender sky. Looking up, his men saw Loring, 
mature, imposing, standing high on the cotton-bale parapet, his 



FORT PEMBERTON 53 

empty sleeve pinned to his coat, gesturing with the remaining ann, 
about him the grey battle breath, above him the flag. 

"Give them blizzards, boys! Give them blizzards!" roared 
Loring. 

The most daring of the transports put a party ashore. But what 
to do? They struck out toward the fort and plimged waist deep into 
a mocking slough of the forest. Out of this they crossed a bank like 
mud turtles, and came into the wide overflow of a bayou. Beyond 
was a tangle of cane and vine, and here they began to feel the bullets 
of hidden grey sharpshooters. Beyond the cane was a cypress swamp, 
impossible twisted roots, knees, and hummocks; between, deep 
threads of water and bottomless black mire. Miserable and useless 
fight with an earth like this! The party turned, got back — torn, 
bemired, panting with fatigue — to the transports, ranged behind 
the gunboats and the cloud of smoke and the thunder of the iron 
men. Night came down, the smoke parted, stars shone out. 

Dawn came, and the battle renewed itself. Red flashes tore the 
mist on the Tallahatchie and the roaring sound made the birds flee 
the woodland. The gunboats worked hard, all unsupported by the 
blue infantry. The ofiScers of the last stamped upon the transports' 
decks. So near and yet so far! After weeks of tortoise crawling! 
Try again! Boats were lowered, filled, sent up bayous, along creeks 
spiralling like unwound thread, or brought alongside some bit of 
bank with an air of firmness. Vain! The bit of bank gave and gave 
under the cautious foot; the bayou spilled out upon plains of black 
mire in which you sank to the middle; the creeks corkscrewed away 
from Fort Pemberton. ... In the afternoon the Chillicothe got a 
shell through her sides. The day went down in thunder and sulphur- 
ous cloud, the fleet belching broadsides. Fort Pemberton loudly 
replying, Loring on the ramparts shouting, " Give them blizzards, 
boys! Give them blizzards!" 

In the morning the Rattler turned and went back to the Cold- 
water, Yazoo Pass, and the Mississippi, in her cabin Watson Smith 
commanding the expedition, ill for days and now like to die. His 
second took command and the third day's struggle began. But the 
Chillicothe again was roughly handled, and certain of the tinclads 
were in trouble. A ram, too, had lost her smokestack and carried a 
ragged hole just above her water line. And the infantry could not 



54 CEASE FIRING 

land, — gave up the attempt. All day the boats on the Tallahatchie 
and the courtesy fort crouched on her eastern bank roared and 
tugged. " Yaaih I Yaaaii ! Yaaihh 1 " rose the grey shouting through 
the rolling smoke. Loring, slightly wounded, came out of a crazy 
tent at the back of the enclosure, crossed the encumbered space, 
and mounted again the cotton bales. The men cheered him loud and 
long. "Old Blizzard! Old Blizzard! Yes, sir! Yes, sir! We 're going 
to give them snow, rain, hail, and sleet!" 

The day weltered by, the rays of the sunset struck through 
powder-stained air. Then came silence, and a thinning of smoke, 
and at last the stars. On the DeKalb was held a council of war. The 
Chillicothe badly hurt, the commander of the expedition ill, sent 
back upon the Rattler, Quinby's men not yet up, Ross's quite unable 
to land, sickness, tedium, dissatisfaction. Heaven knew what going 
on in the Mississippi while they had been lost for endless weeks in a 
no-thoroughfare of half earth, half water, overhung by miasmas! 
The boats alone could not reduce this fort, and infantry that could 
not land was no better than infantry in the moon! Go back without 
anything gained ? Well, the knowledge was gained that Vicksburg 
could n't be taken this way — and the guns had probably blown out 
of existence some scores of rebels! That much was gained. Sick and 
sore, the talk pulled this way and that, but in the end it was deter- 
mined to put back. In the stillness before the dawn gunboats and 
rams and tinclads weighed anchor and steamed away, slowly, slowly 
up the difficult reaches of the Tallahatchie and Coldwater, back to 
Yazoo Pass and so out into the Mississippi. Behind them trailed the 
transports. At the mouth of Yazoo Pass they met with a scouting 
party and learned of a second expedition. 

Porter, fertile in expedients, was conducting this in person. With 
five Eads gunboats he was winding southward by way of innumer- 
able joined streams, — Steele's Bayou, Black Bayou, Deer Creek, 
Rolling Fork, finally the Sunflower which empties into the Yazoo, — ■ 
while accompanying him on the land crept and mired from swamp 
to swamp troops of Sherman's. Infantry and Eads flotilla, they 
reached at last Rolling Fork, but here they met grey troops and a 
determined check. Infantry proved as helpless in the swamps of the 
Sunflower as infantry had proved in the swamps of the Tallahatchie. 
Moreover detached grey parties took to felling trees and crossing 



FORT PEMBERTON 55 

them in the stream behind the gunboats. Porter saw himself becom- 
ing the eel in the bottle, penned in grey toils. Nothing for it but 
to turn, figuratively to back out — the region being one of all the 
witches! 

The Tallahatchie expedition, the Simfiower expedition, returned 
to the Father of Waters. Here, on the western bank, they found 
Grant, cigar in mouth, lines across brow, studying the map between 
Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Upon the grey side Loring waited at 
Fort Pemberton until his scouts brought news of the clearance of 
the Yazoo Valley, but he waited with only half his force, the other 
moiety being withdrawn to Vicksburg. 

Edward Gary, marching with these troops, marched into Vicks- 
burg on an April day, — Vicksburg indomitable; Vicksburg with a 
wretchedly inadequate number of picks and spades extending her 
lines of breastworks, forming salients, mounting batteries, digging 
trenches, incidentally excavating refuges — alias "rat-holes" — 
for her non-combatant citizens; Vicksburg extremely busy, with an 
air of gaiety not altogether forced! Life, nowadays, had always and 
everywhere a deep organ bass, but that was no reason the cymbals 
and castanets should not come in if they could. 

That afternoon, in an encampment just below the town, he came 
into possession of an accumulation of mail, home letters, letters from 
comrades in various commands, other letters. It was a time of rest 
after arduous marching. All around him, on the warm spring earth, 
lay the men of his company. They, too, had letters and long-delayed 
newspapers. They read the letters first, mused over them a little, 
with faces wistful or happy or tragically anxious as the case might 
be, then turned with avidity to the papers, old though they were. 
A little man with a big, oratorical voice had got a Richmond Ex- 
aminer of a none-too-recent date. Sitting cross-legged on a huge 
magnolia stump he read aloud to a ring of listeners, rolling out the 
items like a big bass drum. 

"News from the Mississippi — " 

"That's us!" 

"'As we go to press it is reported that Grant has met at Fort 
Pemberton a worse repulse than did Sherman at Chickasaw Bayou, 
the gallant Loring and his devoted band inflicting upon the invaders 
a signal defeat. Thousands were slain — '" 



56 CEASE FIRING 

"Hm! Old Blizzard's gallant all right, and we're devoted all 
right, and they're invaders all right, and we certainly made them 
clear out of the Yazoo Valley, but somehow I did n't see those thou- 
sands slain! Newspapers always do exaggerate." 

"That's true. Nature and education both. North and South — 
especially North. That New York paper, for instance, that we got 
from the picket at Chickasaw — " 

"The one that said we tortured prisoners?"^, 

"No. The one that said we mutilated the dead. They're all 
Ananiases. Go on, Borrow." 

"'Farragut has succeeded in running the batteries at Fort Hud- 
son. The mouth of the Red River — ' " 

"We know all that. What 're they doing in Virginia ?" 

"Marse Robert and Stonewall seem to be holding south bank of 
Rappahannock. Fighting Joe Hooker on the other side's got some- 
thing up his sleeve. He and ' the finest army on the planet ' look like 
moving. The paper says Sedgwick's tried a crossing below Freder- 
icksburg, but that General Lee 's watching Ely and Germanna fords. 
Here's an account of Kelly's Ford and the death of Pelham — " 

"Read that," said the men. 

Edward left them reading, listening, and making murmured com- 
ment. At a little distance rose a copse overrun with yellow jessamine. 
Entering this, he sat down at the foot of a cedar and, laying by the 
home letters and the letters from comrades, opened one written on 
thin, greyish paper, in a hand slender yet bold: — 

My Heart, — 

I am glad that it was you who found him. O Louis, Louis, 
Louis / ... I am not going to write about him. ... I loved him, 
and he loved me. . . . Oh, we give, we give in this war! 

I hear from my father, broken-hearted for his son, tender and 
loving as ever to his daughter. I hear, too, from your father — a 
letter to keep forever, praising you to me so nobly! And Judith Gary 
has written. I shall love her well, — oh, well! 

Where are you this stormy night ? I sit before the fire, in the gilt 
chair, and the magnolia strikes against the window pane, and I hear, 
far oS, the thunder and shouting, and if I could I would stay the 
bullets with my hands. 



FORT PEMBERTON 57 

The enemy is cutting the levees on this side, up and down the 
river. If they cut a certain one, it will be to our disaster at Cape 
Jessamine. The negroes grow frightened, and now every day they 
leave. I did not mean to tell you all this. It is nothing. 

Where are you this night of rainy wind? I look into the fire which 
is low at this hour, and I see ranged cannon, and banners that rise 
and fall. And may the morning — and may the morning bring me 
a letter! Thine, all thine, 

DfSIREE GAILLARD. 

A week later, having been granted the furlough for which he 
asked, he found himself below Natchez, bargaining with two black 
fenymen to take him across the river. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE RIVER 

THE two men were strong, magnificently formed negroes, one 
middle-aged, one young. "It ain't easy, marster," said the 
first. "River's oner rampage. Jes'er-lookhowshe'sswirlin' 
an' spittin' an' sayin' things! An' erbout every day now dar's er 
crevasse! Yankees make them befo' breakfast. When dishyer river 
tuhns sideways an' shakes down de land a boat ain' so safe as ef 
't was er mountain-top." 

"Dat's so!" said the other. "Hit's wuth twenty-five dollars, 
Confederate money." 

Edward produced and held between thumb and forefinger one 
gold dollar. 

"Git the oars, Daniel!" said the elder negro. "Yes, sah.we cer- 
tainly will git you ercross an' down the river the best we kin!" 

Out pushed the boat into the yellow, sullen river. It was running 
swift and rough. Edward sat with his chin in his hand, his eyes upon 
the farther shore, bathed in a golden, shimmering, spring-time light. 
It was slow rowing across this stream, and the shore far off. 

The negroes began to sing. 

"I'se gwine tell you ob de comin' ob de Saviour! 

Far' you well! Far' you well 1 
Dar's er better day er comin', 

Far' you well! Far' you well! 
When my Lord speaks ter his Father, 

Far' you well! Far' you well! 
Says, 'Father, I'm tired of bearin',' 

Far' you well! Far' you well! 
'Tired of bearin' fer pore sinners,' 

Far' you well! Far' you well! — " 

The Louisiana shore came softly nearer. It was a jewelled and 
spangled April shore, that sent out sweet breath from flowers with- 
out number. Viewed at a little distance it seemed a magic green 
curtain, rarely embroidered; but when it came nearer its beauty was 
seen to be shot with the sinister, the ghostly, even, vaguely, with the 



THE RIVER 59 

terrible. Hereabouts rose a great forest through which deep bayous 
crept to join the river, into which, too, the river ran an inlet or so like 
a Titan's finger. The boat with the two negroes and the soldier 
turned its head downstream, following the loops of the river and the 
scalloped shore. To-day, indeed, there seemed no proper shore. The 
shore had turned amphibian. White cypress, red cypress, magnolia, 
live-oak, in and out between them sucked the dark water. Vines 
and the wild festoons of the grey moss mirrored themselves within 
it; herons kept watch' by rotting logs over dusk pools swept by the 
yellow jessamine; the water moccasin slipped beneath perfumed 
thickets, under a slow, tinted rain of petals. At intervals there 
opened vast vistas, an endless and mournful world of tall cypress 
trunks propping a roof that was jealous of the sun. In the river itself 
were islets, magically fair, Titania bowers, a loveliness of unfolding 
leaf, delicate and dreamlike enough to make the tears spring. It was 
past the middle of the day; heat and golden haze in the sun, coolness 
and cathedral gloom where the enormous woodland threw its shadow. 

Now the negroes were silent and now they were talkative, passing 
abruptly from one mood to the other. Everything in their range of 
speech was dwelt upon with an equal volubility, interest, and em- 
phasis. A ruined eagle's nest, a plunging fish-hawk, the slow-sailing 
buzzards, difficulties with the current, the last duel between gun- 
boats, the latest dash of a Confederate ram, the breaking levees, a 
protuberance on a bar of black slime and mud which, on the whole, 
they held to be a log, until with a sudden dull gleaming it slid into 
the water and proved to be a turtle — all things received an equal 
dole of laughter with flashing teeth, of amiable, vivid, childlike 
discussion. Sometimes they appealed to the white man, and he, 
friendly minded, at home with them, gave in a word the informa- 
tion or settled with two the dispute. " That 's so ! that 's so ! " each 
agreed. "I done see hit that-er-way, too! That's right, sir! Quar- 
relling is powerful foolish — jes' as foolish as gittin' drunk!" 

Any swiftness of work was, in these parts, for the river alone. The 
boat moved slowly enough, here caught by an eddy, here travelling 
among snags and bars, doubling with the river, following the wave 
line of the water-logged shore. The sun's rays began to fall slant- 
ingly. Through the illimitable forest, down between the cypress 
trunks, came flights of golden arrows. 



6o CEASE FIRING 

"We are not far from Cape Jessamine ?" 

"No, marster. Not very far." 

Silence fell again. They turned a horn of land, all delicate, flower- 
ing shrubs, and ran beneath a towering, verdurous bank that rained 
down odours. It laid, too, upon the river, a dark, far-reaching 
shadow. 

The younger negro spoke with suddenness. "I belongs to Cape 
Jessamine." 

Edward turned. "Do you ? — Why were you up the river and 
on the other side ? " 

"Hit ain't safe any mo' at Cape Jessamine. But I ain't no runa- 
way, sah. Miss Desir6e done tol' us to go." He felt in his shirt, took 
out a piece of bandanna, and unwrapped from it a piece of paper 
which he held out to Edward. "Dar's my pass, all right, sah! She 
done tol' us to go, an' she say she don' know that she'll ever call us 
back. She say she mighty fond of us, too, but all things er-comin' 
down an' er-changin' an' er-changin'! Hit ain't never any more 
gwine be lak hit was." 

"How many have gone ?" 

"Mos' everybody, sah. Yankees come an' tek de cattle an' de 
meal, an' dar wa'n't much to eat. An' ef er man or er yaller gal step 
in er rain puddle dey wuz took with er shakin'-fit, cryin' out dat 
de river was er-comin'! She say we better go. De Fusilier place — 
way back an' crosst the bayou where de river could n't never git — 
she done sont de women an' chillen dar, an' Madam Fusilier she say 
she tek care ob dem des ez long ez dar's anything in de smokehouse 
an' de meal ain' stolen — " 

"The overseer — did he get well ?" 

"No, sah. He hurt he hip, an' ole Brer Fever come er-long an' he 
died." 

"Then who is at Cape Jessamine with — ?" 

"Dar's her mammy, sah, who wouldn't go. An' 'Rasmus an' 
Mingo an' Simon. . . . Plantation beg Miss D6siree to come away, 
too, but she say 'No,' we go, but she's got er responsibility — an' 
she doubt ef de river come anyway. Yes, sah. She say she got her 
post, but dat hit's all right for us to go, de meal givin' out an' all. 
An' she say she certain'y is fond of us, every one, an' she come 
down de great house porch steps an' shake hands all round — " He 



THE RIVER 6 1 

took the slip of paper and wrapped it carefully in the bandanna, 
"When de war's over I'se gwine right back." 

Edward spoke to the older man. "How real is the danger ?" 

"Of the river coverin' Cape Jessamine, sah? Well, they've cut a 
powerful heap of levees. It's lak this." He rested on his oars and 
demonstrated with his hands. "Cape Jessamine's got water mos' 
all around it anyhow. It comes suckin' in back here, suckin' and 
underminin'. The Mississippi's er powerful, big sapper an' miner — 
the biggest kind of er one ! It might be workin' in the cellar like under 
Cape Jessamine this very minute. And then ergain it might not. 
Ain' nobody kin really tell. Though nowadays it's surely lucky to 
expect the worst. Yes, sah, the Mississippi's er bigger sapper an' 
miner than any they 've got in the army!" 

They went on, by the dense woodland, beneath the low sun. A 
, cypress swamp ran back for miles. In this hour the vast, knotted 
knees, dimly seen, innumerable, covering all the earth, appeared like 
sleeping herds of an ancient monster. The wash of the water was 
like the breathing of such a host. All the country here was very low, 
and over it there began to be drawn a purple veil. It was as still as a 
dream. The boat passed between two islets covered with a white 
flower, and came into sight of a point of land. 

"Cape Jessamine!" said the young negro. 

It lay painfully fair, an emerald breadth with groups of trees, 
seen through the veil like a. fading dream which the mind tries to 
hold, and tries in vain, it is so fair! There was magic in the atmos- 
phere; to look down the river was to look upon a vision. Edward 
looked, bent forward, his eyes steady and wide. 

"Row fast!" he said in his friendly voice. "I want to go back 
now." 

They rowed fast, by monstrous white cypresses, under boughs 
hung with motionless banners of moss, by fallen trees, deca)dng 
logs, grotesquely twisted roots. The boat kept in the shadow, but 
the light was on Cape Jessamine. Presently they could see the 
lofty pillars of the house, half veiled in foliage, half bare to the sink- 
ing sun. They were now not half a mile away. The distance less- 
ened. . . . 

They were skirting a muddy shore, rowing amid a wild disorder of 
stumps that rose clear from the water, of dead and fallen trees, dead 



6i CEASE FIRING 

and far-flung vines. There came to the boat a slight rising and fall- 
ing motion. 

"What's dat ?" said the young negro. 

His fellow turned and stared. "Lak er swell from er steamer, 
only there ain't any steamer on the Mississippi these days — " 

"0 my Lawd, what dat sound ?" 

The boat rocked violently. "Oh, Destruction, not there!" cried 
Edward Gary. 

Cape Jessamine went down, down. They saw and heard; it was 
before their eyes; the bending pillars, the crashing walls, the trees 
that fell, the earth that vanished, the churned and horrible water. 
. . . They saw the work of the river, the sapper who worked with a 
million hands. . . . Shrieking, the negroes drove the boat head into 
the muddy shore, leaped up and caught at the overhanging boughs. 
Their frail craft was stayed, resting behind a breakwater of dead 
limbs. "0 God-er-moughty! O God-er-moughty!" wailed the 
young negro. 

Edward stood like marble. It had been there celestially fair — 
his port and haven and the wealth it held. It was gone — gone like 
a mirage. The red sim sank and left the wild world a wide waste. . , . 
The darkness, which, in this latitude, followed at once, was unwel- 
come only because it closed the door on search, hopeless and im- 
possible as would search have been in that cauldron of earth and 
water. The inner darkness was heavier than that which came up 
from the east. Through it all the long night throbbed like a dark 
star, now despair, now hope against hope. 

They fastened the boat with a rope to a great projecting piece of 
Spanish bayonet. For a while, despite the sheltered spot into which 
they had driven, it rose and fell as though it were at sea, but this 
passed with the passing hours. At last the excited negroes fell quiet, 
at last they lay asleep, head pillowed on arms. As best he might 
Gary wore out the darkness. 

It was not yet dawn when he roused the negroes. The boat lay 
quiet now; the river was over its disturbance of the evening be- 
fore. Since its origin deep in past ages the river had pulled down 
too many shores, swallowed too many strips of land to be long con- 
cerned over its latest work. Yellow and deep and terrible, on it 
ran, remorseless and unremembering. The boat on the edge of the 



THE RIVER 63 

swamp, in the circle of projecting root and snag, lay quiet. Above 
and aroxmd it hung lifeless from the boughs the grey moss. Bough 
and moss, there was made a vast tracery through which showed the 
primrose sky, cold, quiet, infinitely withdrawn. Looking down 
the stream, all that was missed was Cape Jessamine. The yellow 
water rolled over that. 

"There was a bayou a mile or two back," said Edward. "The one 
on which stood 'Rasmus's house. It ran north and south and the 
road went across it. Can we get to that bayou ? " 

"Yes, sah. Hit's haid ain' far from here. But we'd have to leave 
de boat." 

"It is fastened and hidden. You will find it again." 

The elder negro looked doubtful. "We's poor men, marster. 
Ain't anybody to look after us now — " 

"I ain' er-carin' how poor I is," broke in the younger. "I'se 
gwine. Ef dey got warnin' dey might hab took to de bayou, crosst 
hit, an' went on to de*Fusilier place. But hit don' look ter me lak 
de river give any warnin'. " 

"That's what we've got to see," said Edward. He touched the 
shoulder of the elder black. "You're a good man, like Daniel here! 
Leave the boat and come on." 

In the deep wood, among the cypresses, the light was faint enough. 
The three crept over the purple brown hummocks, the roots like 
stiffened serpents. Now and again they plunged into water or black 
mire. Edward moved in silence, and though the negroes talked, 
their voices were subdued to the place. It was slow, slow going, 
walking among traps. An hour passed. The cypresses fell away and 
cane and flowering vines topped by giant magnolias took their place. 

"Haid of bayou," said Daniel. 

They found an old dugout half full of water, bailed it out, and 
began to pole down the narrow, winding water, that ran two miles in 
the wood behind the lost Cape Jessamine. 

"If she had even an hour — " said Edward. 

"Miss Desiree des' er-sa'nter er-long," said Daniel, "but what she 
wan' ter do, hit gets done lak er bolt ob lightnin' runnin' down de 
sky! Dar' ain' any tellin'. Ef she saw hit er-comin' she sholy mek 
'em move — " 

On either hand the perfumed walls came dose. Far overhead the 



64 CEASE FIRING 

trees mingled their leaves and through the lace roof the early light 
came stilly down. The water was dear brown. Each turn brought 
a vista, faintly lit, tapering into mist, through which showed like 
smoked pearl mere shapes of trees. They went on and on, to a low 
and liquid sound. A white crane stood to watch them, ghostly in 
its place. Isolation brooded; all was as still as the border of the 
world. 

Turning with the turning water they fovmd another reach with 
pearl grey trees. A boat came toward them out of the mist, a dug- 
out like their own, with a figure, standing, poling. In the greyness 
and the distance it was not immediately to be made out; then, as 
the boat came nearer, they saw that it was a woman, and another 
minute told her name. 

The yoimg negro broke into a happy babbling. "Miss Desiree 
ain' gwine let de river drown her! — no, nurr her mammy, nurr 
Mingo, nurr Simon, nurr 'Rasmus! She got mo' sence dan de river. 
'Ho!' she say, 'you ol' river! You can tek my house, but you can't 
tek me! I des walk out lak de terrapin an' leave you de shell!'" 

She came out of the mist into the morning light, into the emerald 
and gold. She rowed bareheaded, standing straight, slender, and 
fine as Artemis. The elder negro dipped the oar strongly, the dis- 
tance lessened with swiftness. When she saw Edward, she gave the 
singing cry he knew as though he had known it always. . . . 

'Rasmus's cabin, it seemed, had been rebuilt. Here were mammy 
and 'Rasmus himself and Mingo and Simon, and a little bag of meal 
and a little, little coffee. Everybody had breakfast while the birds 
sang and the trees waved, and the honey bees were busy with all the 
flowers of the Southern spring. Later, there was held a council be- 
tween General Gary and General Gaillard, sitting gravely opposite 
each other, he on a cypress stump and she on a fallen pine. The 
Fusilier place ? Yes, the servants had best go there. Mammy, at 
any rate, must go. She was old and feeble, a little childish — and 
Madam Fusilier was a true saint who gave herself to the servants. 
Five miles down the road lived an old man who had a mule and a 
cart. Desiree had an idea that they had not been taken. The Fusilier 
place was fourteen miles away. They might get mammy there before 
night. 

"And you?" 



THE RIVER 6s 

"I will take her there, of course." 

"Madam Fusilier will insist upon caring for you, too." 

"Undoubtedly. But I do not wish to stay at the Fusilier place. 
It is in the back country. News never comes there. You could not 
hear even the firing on the river. It is a cloister, and she is old and 
always on her knees. I would beat against the cage until I died or 
beat it down." 

"Desiree, would you come with me? We could marry at Natchez, 
and the women are not leaving Vicksburg. . . . Oh, I cannot tell if 
I am giving you good counsel!" 

"It is a counsel of happiness." 

"And of danger — " 

"I will take the danger. . . . Oh, that is so much better than the 
Fusilier place!" 

Two days later they left the friendly boatmen on the Mississippi 
side. An old family carriage which they overtook, creeping along the 
spring-tiine road, in it a lady, her little girl, and a maid, gave them a 
long lift upon the way. At the last they came into Natchez in an 
ambulance sent up from Port Hudson, in friendly company with a 
soldier with a bandaged leg and a soldier with a bandaged head and 
arm. In Natchez they were married. 

Three days passed and they entered Vicksburg. His furlough 
would expire the next morning. She knew people in this town, old 
friends of her mother's, she said. She and Edward found the house 
and all was well. Her mother's friends kissed her, laughed and cried 
and kissed her again, and then they shook hands warmly with her 
husband, and then they gave the two a cool high room behind a 
cascade of roses, and sent them cake and sangaree. 

As the evening fell, they sat together by the window, in the fair 
stillness, and relief of a place all their own. 

"The town is full of rumours," he said. "There is news of a bom- 
bardment of Charleston, and we have had a success in Tennessee, 
a great raid of Forrest's. Longstreet is being attacked south of the 
James. The armies on the Rappahannock appear to be making 
ready — " 

"And here?" 

"There is a feeling that we are on the eve of events. Grant is 
starting some movement, but what it is has not yet developed. 



66 CEASE FIRING 

There will be fighting preseptly — " He put out his hand and drew 
within the room a bough of the Seven Sisters rose. "Look, how they 
are shaded! Pale pink, rose, crimson." 

He had letters from home which he presently took up from the 
table, opened, and read aloud. They were sprinkled with gracious 
references to his happiness and messages of love for Desiree at Cape 
Jessamine. 

"Oh, Cape Jessamine — oh, Cape Jessamine!" 

"This is from Molly. 'Will you be able to see her before the war 
is over ? They say it will be over this summer. ' " 

"Molly is the little one? And I am here! We see each other, 
though the war is not over. Oh, there is no cup that has not the pearl 
dropped in — " 

"If you think this rose light comes only from the roses — " 

The dusk deepened to night, the night of the sixteenth of April, 
1863. A perfumed wind blew through the town, the stars shone, the 
place lay deep in sleep, only the sentries walking their beat. From 
river battery to river battery, patrolling the Mississippi, went 
pickets in rowboats. They dipped their oars softly, looking up and 
down and across the stream. Toward the middle of the night they 
drew together in a cluster, and now they looked upstream. Then 
they separated and went in different directions, rowing no longer 
with slow strokes, but with all their strength of arm. The most 
madfe for the nearest shore battery, but others shot across to the 
small settlement of De Soto on the Louisiana bank. That which they 
did here was to fire a number of frame buildings near the water's 
edge. Up soared the red pillars, illuminating the river. Across the 
water a signal shot boomed from the upper batteries. Up and 
down the bugles were heard. Lights sprung out, the wind filled 
with sound. Down the Mississippi, into the glare thrown by the 
burning houses came at full speed Porter's ironclads, meaning this 
time to get by. The Benton, Lafayette, and Tuscumbia, the gun- 
boats Carondelet, Pittsburg, Louisville, Mound City, the ram Gen- 
eral Price, the transports Forest Queen and Silver Wave and Henry 
Clay — one by one they showed in the night that was now red. 
The transports were protected by bulwarks of cotton bales, by coal 
barges lashed to their sides. From the smokestacks of all rushed 
black clouds with sparks of fire. Go ahead ! Go ahead ! 



THE RIVER 67 

Vicksburg, that was to dispute the ownership of the Mississippi, 
had with which to do it twenty-eight guns. She was hardly a 
Gibraltar — Vicksburg; hardly ironclad and invulnerable, hardly 
fitted with ordnance suflSdent for her purpose. The twenty-eight 
guns upon the bluffs above the river might be greatly served, they 
might work tirelessly and overtime, but it remained tiiat they were 
but twenty-eight. Now in the midnight of the sixteenth of April, 
they opened mouth. At once the blue ironclads answered. 

The excited town came out of doors. On the whole it was better 
to see the shells than to hear them where you sat in dark rooms. The 
women had a horror of being caught within falling walls, beneath a 
roof that was on fire; they, too, preferred to meet death and terror in 
the open. Not that they believed that death was coming to many 
to-night, or that they could, have been called terrified. Vicksburg 
was growing used to bombardments. The women gathered the 
children and came out into the streets and gardens. There had been 
that evening a party and a dance. The signal gun boomed hard 
upon its close; young girls and matrons had reached home, but had 
not yet undressed. They came out of doors again in their filmy ball 
gowns, with flowers in their hair. As the guns opened mouth, as 
the blue shells rose into the night, each a swift, brilliant horror, the 
caves were suggested, but the women of Vicksburg did not like the 
caves and only meant to use them when the rain was furious. Not 
all came out of doors. The yoimg wife of a major-general was afraid 
of the night air for her baby, and stayed quietly by its cradle, and 
others kept by the bedridden. Vicksburg, no more than any other 
Southern town, lacked its sick and wounded. 

The signal shot had awakened Desiree and Edward. Before he 
was dressed there came the sound of the beaten drum in the streets 
below. 

"The long roll ! " he said. "I must hurry. The regiment is camped 
by the river." 

He bent over her, took her in his arms.^ "Good-bye, love! good- 
bye, love!" 

"Good-bye, love; good-bye, good-bye!" 

He was gone. With a sob in her throat she fell back, lay for a 
moment outstretched on the bed, face down, her hands locked above 
her head. The house shook, a light came in the window, there w^e 



68 CEASE FIRING 

hurried voices through the house and in the garden below. She rose 
and dressed, braiding her long hair with flying fingers, her eyes 
upon the red light in the sky. When she had done she looked around 
her once, then went out, closing the door behind her, and ran down 
into the garden. 



CHAPTER VII 

PORT GIBSON 

THE twenty-eight guns sent out continuously shot and shell 
against the blue ironclads, the gunboats, the transports. 
The blue returned the fire with fervency. Not before had 
the shores rocked to such sound, the heavens been filled with such a 
display. The firing was furious, the long shriek and explosion of 
crossing shells, bluff and river screaming like demons. All the sky 
was lit. The massed smoke hung huge and copper red, while high 
and low sprang the intense brightness of the exploding bomb. The 
grey guns set on fire several transports. These burned fiercely, the 
coal barges, the cotton bales that made their shields betraying them 
now, burning high and burning hard. The village of De Soto was 
aflame. The Mississippi River showed as light as day, a strange red 
daylight, stuffed with infernal sound. Through it steadily, steadily, 
the blue fleet pushed down the river, running the gauntlet of the 
batteries. All the boats were struck, most were injured. A transport 
was burning to the water's edge, coal barges were scattered and 
simk. Firing as it went, each ironclad a moving broadside, the fleet 
kept its way. The twenty-eight did mightily, the gunners, powder- 
grimed automata, the servers of ammunition, the ofiScers, the 
sharpshooters along the shore — all strove with desperation. Up 
and down and across, the night roared and flamed like a Vulcan fur- 
nace. The town shook, and the bluffs of the river; the Mississippi 
might have borne to the sea a memory of thunders. Less a sunken 
transport, less one burning low, less scattered and lost small craft, 
the fleet — scarred and injured though it was — the fleet passed ! It 
ran the gauntlet, and at dawn there was a reason the less for holding 
Vicksburg. 

Two nights later other ironclads got by. Grant had now a fleet at 
New Carthage, on the Louisiana shore, halfway between Vicksburg 
and Grand Gulf. He proceeded to use it and the transports that had 
passed. The sky over the grey darkened rapidly; there came a feel-. 



70 CEASE FIRING 

ing of oppression, of sultry waiting, of a storm gathering afar, but 
moving. Sherman again threatened to approach by the Yazoo, but 
that was not felt to be the head of the storm. From La Grange, in 
Tennessee, southward, Grierson was ruining railroads and burning 
depots of supplies, but that was but a raid to be avenged by a raid. 
In the cloud down the river was forging the true lightning, the breath 
of destruction and the iron hail. Vicksburg held its breath and 
looked sideways at small noises, then recovered itself, smiled, and 
talked of sieges in history successfully stood by small towns. On the 
twenty-ninth. Porter's squadron opened fire on the Confederate 
batteries at Grand Gulf, and that night, under a fierce bombard- 
ment, ironclads, gunboats, and transports ran this defence also of 
the Mississippi. At dawn there was another reason the less for 
confining few troops in small places. 

On the thirtieth of April, Grant began to ferry his army across 
from the Louisiana shore. Brigade by brigade, he landed it at 
Bruinsburg, nine miles below Grand Gulf, sixty below Vicksburg. 
At Grand Gulf was Bowen with five thousand grey soldiers with 
which to delay Grant's northward march. Between Bruinsburg 
and Grand Gulf ran Bayou Pierre, wide and at this season much 
swollen, but with an available bridge at Port Gibson. Bowen's 
three brigades took the road to the last-named place, and Bowen 
telegraphed to Pemberton at Vicksburg for reinforcements. Pem- 
berton sent Tracy's Alabama brigade of Stevenson's; division, and 
with it Anderson's Battery, Botetourt Artillery. The th Vir- 
ginia, figuring in this story, marched also. 

Theybroke campatdusk. "Night march! "quoth th Virginia. 

"Double time! Old Jack must have come down from Virginia!" 

The colonel heard. " Old Jack and Marse Robert are looking after 
Fighting Joe Hooker to-day. I saw the telegram. They're moving 
toward the Wilderness." 

"Well, we wish we were, too," said the men. "Though "the Miss- 
issippi is mighty important, we know!" 

There existed a road, of course, only it had not been in condition 
for a year. No roads were kept up nowadays, though occasionally 
some engineer corps momentarily bettered matters in some selected 
place in order that troops might pass. Troops had gone up and 
down this road, and the feet of men and horses, the wheels of wagons 



PORT GIBSON 71 

and gun-carriages had added force to neglect, making the road very 
bad, indeed. It was narrow and bad, even for Southern roads in 
wartime. To the aid of neglect and the usage of hoof and wheel had 
come the obliterating rains. Bayous, too, had no hesitation in fling- 
ing an arm across. It was a season when firm ground changed into 
marsh and marsh into lake and ordinary fords grew too deep for 
fording. Miles of the miserable road ran through forest — no open, 
park-like wood whereon one might travel on turf at the sides of the 
way, but a far Southern forest, impenetrable, violent, resenting the 
road, giving it not an inch on either hand, making raids and forays 
of its own. Where it could it flung poisoned creepers, shot out arms 
in thorn-mail, laid its own dead across that narrow track. It could 
also blot out the light, keep off the air. 

At midnight the Big Black River was reached. Oh, the reinforce- 
ments for Bowen were tired and worn! The night was inky, damp, 

and hot. The th Virginia, closing Tracy's column, must wait 

and wait for its turn at the crossing. There was a long, old-type 
ferryboat, and many men and horses swam the stream, but it took 
time, time to get the whole brigade across! Broken and decaying 
wood was gathered and a tall fire made. Burning at the water's 
edge, it murkily crimsoned landing and stream, the crowded boat 
slow passing from shore to shore, and the swimming, mounted men. 
Above it, on the north side, the waiting regiments threw themselves 
down on the steaming earth, in the rank and wild growth. The 

th Virginia, far back on the road, had a fire of its own. Behind 

it yet were the guns accompanying Tracy. 

As the fire flamed up Artillery drew near, drawn by the genial 
glow. "May we? Thank you! If you fellows are as wet as we are, 
you are wet, indeed. That last bayou was a holy terror!" 

"In our opinion this entire night's a holy terror. Have n't we met 
you before? Are n't you the Botetourt Artillery?" 

"Yes. We've met a lot of people in this war, some that we liked 
and some that we did n't! You look right likable. Where — " 

"Going out to Chickasaw Bayou. Pitch black night like this, 
only it was raining and cold. Your mules could n't pull — " 

"Oh, now we remember!" said Artillery. "You're the th 

Virginia that helped us all it could! Glad to meet you again. Glad 
to meet anything Virginian." 



72 CEASE FIRING 

"You've been out of Virginia a long time?" 

" Out of it a weary year. Tennessee, Cumberland Gap, Kentucky, 
and so forth. We sing 'most everything in this army, but the Bote- 
tourt Artillery can't sing 'Carry me back to Old Virginny'! It 
chokes up. — What's your county?" 

Company by company, regiment by regiment, Tracy's brigade 
got over the Big Black. Foot by foot the troops in the rear came 
nearer the stream; minute by minute the dragging night went by. 
Half seated, half lying on the fallen trunk of a gum, Edward Cary 
watched the snail-like crossing. When one dead tree burned down, 
they fired another. There was light enough, a red pulsing in the 
darkness through which the troops moved down the sloping bank 
to the ferryboat. The bank was all scored and trampled, and crested 
by palmetto scrub and tall trees draped with vines. The men stum- 
bled as they went, they were so stiff with fatigue. Their feet were 
sore and torn. There was delay enough. Each man as he passed 
out of the shadow down to the boat had his moment of red Ught, a 
transitory centre of the stage. 

Cary watched them broodingly, his elbow on the log, his hand 
covering his mouth. "A bronze frieze of the Destined. Leaves of 
the life tree and a high wind and frost at hand." An old man stood 
his moment in the light, the hollows in his cheeks plain, plain the 
thin and whitened hair beneath a torn boy's cap. He passed. The 
barrel of his musket gleamed for an instant, then sank like a star 
below the verge. A young man took his place, gaunt, with deep 
circles about his eyes. The hand on the musket stock was long and 
thin and white. "Fever," thought Edward. "Disease, that walks 
with War." The fever-stricken passed, and another took his place. 
This was a boy, certainly not more than fifteen, and his eyes were 
dancing. He had had something to eat, Edward thought, perhaps 
even a mouthful of whiskey, he carried himself with such an impish 
glee. "Is it such fun? I wonder — I wonder! You represent, I think, 
the past of the human species. Step aside, honourable young sav- 
age, and let the mind of the world grow beyond fifteen!" 

On and down went the column, young, old, and in between. 
Two years earlier a good observer, watching it, would have been 
able fairly to ascribe to each unit his place in life before the 
drum beat. "A farmer — another — a great landowner, a planter 



PORT GIBSON 73 

— surely a blacksmith — a clerk — a town-bred man, perhaps 
a banker — another farmer — a professional man — a student — 
Dick from the plough — " and so on. Now it was different. You 
could have divided the columns, perhaps, into educated men and 
uneducated men, rough men and refined men, as you could have 
divided it into young men and old men, tall men and men not so tall. 
But the old stamp had greatly worn away, and the new had had two 
years in which to bite deep. It was a column of Confederate soldiers, 
poorly dad and shod, and, to-night, himgry and very tired. Soldier 
by soldier, squad, company, regiment, on they stumbled through 
prickly and matted growth down to the water of the Big Black and 
the one boat. The night wore on. One and two and three o'clock 

went by before the last of the th Virginia was over. Edward, 

standing in the end of the boat, marked the Botetourt Artillery move 
forward and down to the stream. There was a moment when the 
guns were drawn sharply against the pallor of the morning sky. 
There came into his mind an awakening at dawn on the battle-field 
of Frayser's Farm, and the pale pink heaven behind the guns. But, 
indeed, he had seen them often, drawn against the sky at daybreak. 
There was growing in this war, as in all wars, a sense of endless re- 
petition. The gamut was not extensive, the spectrum held but few 
colomrs. Over and over and over again sounded the notes, old as the 
ages, monotonous as the desert wind. War was still war, and all 
music was military. Edward and his comrades touched the southern 
shore of the Big Black, and the boat went back for the Botetourt 
Artillery. 

The reinforcements for Bowen made no stop for breakfast for men 
or for horses, but pushed on toward Grand Gulf. The day was 
warm, the forest heavily scented, the air languid. All the bourgeon- 
ing and blossoming, the running sap, the upward and outward flow, 
was only for the world of root and stem, leaf and bud. The very 
riot and life therein seemed to draw and drain the strength from the 
veins of men. It was as though there were not life enough for both 
worlds, and the vegetable world was forcing itself uppermost. All day 
Tracy's column moved forward in a forced march. The men went 
hungry and without sleep; all day they broke with a dull impatience 
thorn and briar and impeding cane, or forded waist-deep and muddy 
bayous, or sought in swamps for the lost road. They were now in a 



74 CEASE FIRING 

region of ridge and ravine, waves of land and the trough between, 
and all covered with a difficult scrub and a maze of vines. 

A courier from Grand Gulf met the head of the column. " General 
Bowen says, sir, you '11 have to cross Bayou Pierre at Port Gibson. 
The bridge is there. Yes, sir, make a detour — yonder 's the road." 

"That turkey track?" 

"Yes, sir. General Bowen says he surely will be obliged if you'll 
come right on." 

Sundown and Bayou Pierre were reached together. At the mouth 
of the bridge at Port Gibson waited an aide on horseback. 

"General Tracy?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"General, we're in line of battle across the Bruinsburg road, 
several miles from here! McClemand's corps is in front of us and 
he's got at least four divisions. General Bowen says he knows your 
men are tired and he's sorry, but you must move right out. They'll 
attack at dawn at latest. We are n't but five thousand." 

The reinforcements from Vicksburg moved out. At ten o'clock 
they got into line of battle — a hot, still, dark night, and the soft 
blurred stars swimming before the men's eyes. When the order was 
given, the troops dropped down where they stood, lay on their arms, 
and slept like the dead. 

At two in the morning of the first of May the pickets began firing. 
Up rose the reinforcements. They looked for breakfast, but break- 
fast was scant indeed, a stopgap of the slightest description. Pre- 
sently came the order, "Move to the left and support General 
Green." 

Missouri formed Bowen's left, and Missouri fought bravely at 
Port Gibson. It had to face treble its numbers, artillery and infan- 
try. It faced them so stubbornly that for a time it bade fair to 
outface them. On that hot May day, on that steaming Southern 
battle-field, occurred strong fighting, grey and blue at grips. Victory 
shouting now here, now there, Defeat uncertain yet into which 
colour finally to let fly the deadly arrow. The battle smoke settled 
heavily. The bright colours, the singing-birds fled the trees and 
bushes, the perfume of flowers was smothered and vanished. 

Artillery on both sides became heavily engaged.- The th Vir- 
ginia, during one of those sudden and mysterious lulls coming sud- 



PORT GIBSON 75 

denly in battle as in other commotions of the elements, found itself, 
after hard fighting, with nothing to do but to watch that comer of 
the fight immediately before it. The comer was but a small, smoke- 
shrouded one. Only general oflScers, aides, and couriers ever really 

saw a battle-field. The th Virginia gazed with feverish interest 

on what it could see and guessed that which it could not. It could 
guess well enough that for the grey the struggle was growing des- 
perate. 

All this field was up and down, low ridge and shallow ravine. The 

th Virginia held a ridge. Over against it was a blue battery, and 

beyond the battery there might be divined a gathering mass of in- 
fantry. The th Virginia looked to its cartridge boxes. "Wish we 

had some guns! There won't be much of this left — What's that? 
Praise the Lord! " At a gallop, out of the smoke to the right, came a 
section of a grey battery, the gims leaping and thundering. Red- 
nostrilled, with blood-shot eyes up strained the horses. At the ridge- 
top, with an iron clang, all stopped. At once the gunners, grey 
wraiths in grey smoke, were busy; busy also at once the shapes 
upon the opposite ridge, blue wraiths in grey smoke. There was 
shouting, gesturing, then the flare and shriek of crossing shells. 

The th Virginia, still in possession of its spare moment, watched 

with an interest intense and critical. "Hello!" it said. "That's the 
homesick battery! That's the Botetourt Artillery!" 

Out of the haze in front, above the opposing crest, came a glint of 
bayonets, the blue infantry, coveting the grey ridge, moving for- 
ward under artillery support. The th Virginia handled its 

rifles. Ready — take aim — firel The blue failed to acquire the 

coveted ridge. The th Virginia, at rest once again in its comer 

of the field, looked sideways to see what the homesick battery was 
doing. There was a silence; then, "Give them a cheer, men! "said the 
colonel. "They're dying fast, and it always was a brave county!" 

The shells from the many blue cannon came many and fast. It 
was necessary to clear the ridge of that grey section which stood in 
the way of a general advance. The gunners fell, the gunners fell, 
the officers, the horses. Dim in the universal cloud, from the left, a 
force was seen approaching. " Grey, I think," said the lieutenant 
commanding this section of the Botetourt Artillery. "J. J. Smith, 
climb up on the roof of that cabin, and see what you can see!" 



76 CEASE FIRING 

J. J. Smith climbed. "Lieutenant Norgrove! Lieutenant Nor- 
grove! they're damn- Yankees — " 

Out of the smoke came a yellow light and a volley of lead. Gunner 
Number 8, J. J. Smith, fell from the roof of the cabin, desperately 
wounded. "Double canister!" shouted Norgrove. 

An orderly came up the back side of the ridge. The th Vir- 
ginia was needed to cover a break in the line to the right. Off per- 
force went the regiment, with one backward look at the homesick 
battery, left without infantry support. An aide dashed up, rose in his 
stirrups, and shouted, "Move your guns to the ridge in your rear!" 
He was gone; Botetourt looked and shook its head. The horses were 
all killed. "Put your hands to them, men!" ordered Norgrove — 
and they tried. But the scrub was thick, the ground rough; there 
burst a frightful fire, shell and musketry, and on came the blue wave 
hurrahing. "All right! We can't!" shouted Norgrove. "LoadI 
This hill's Botetoiurt County — Take aim! — and we don't propose 
to emigrate! Fire!" 

The blue guns threw death. Deep, many-atomed, resistless, up 
roared the blue wave. It struck and went over Botetourt County, 
and, taking the two guns, turned them on the Botetourt men. There 
were few Botetourt men now, Botetourt was become again the 
wilderness. Norgrove jerked the trail from a gun, a man in blue 
calling on him all the time to surrender. He made at the man, who 
lifted his rifle and fired. Norgrove fell, mortally wounded, fell by the 
side of J. J. Smith. He put his arms about the gunner, "Come on! 
Come on! "he cried. . . . The wave swept over Botetourt County, 
the dead and the dying. 

The th Virginia, fighting strongly in another quarter of the 

field, came in mid-afternoon to a stand between charges. All knew 
now that the day was going against them. The smoke hung thick, a 
dark velvet in the air, torn in places by the lightning from the guns. 
Grey and blue — all was dimly seen. The flags looked small and dis- 
tant, mere riddled and blood-stained rags. The voice of War was 
deep and loud. The th Virginia, looking up from a hollow be- 
tween the hills, saw two grey guns, stolid in the midst of wreck and 
ruin.' The plateau around had a nightmare look, it was so weighted 
and cumbered with destruction. There was an exploded caisson, a 
wreck of gun-carriages. Not a horse had been spared. The agony of 



PORT GIBSON 77 

them was ghastly, sunk in the scrub, up and down and on the crest 
of the ridge. ... A few grey gunners yet served the grey guns. 

A captain, young, with a strong face and good brown eyes, stood 
out, higher than the rest, careless of the keening minies, the stream of 
shells. "A habit is a habit, men ! This battery's got a habit of being 
steadfast! Keep it up — keep it up!" t- 

"Captain Johnston — Captain Johnston! They've killed Lieu- 
tenant Douthatt — " 

" Lay him in the scrub and fight on. How many rounds, Peters? — 
Two ? — All right! You can do a good deal with two rounds — " 

" It's the rest of the homesick battery," said the th Virginia, 

"Botetourt Artillery I Botetourt Artillery I" 

There rushed a blue, an overpowering, a tidal wave — out of the 
smoke and din, bearing with it its own smoke and din, overmaster- 
ingly strong, McClemand's general advance. At the same moment, 
on the left, struck McPherson. When the roar that followed the 
impact died, the blue had won the field of Port Gibson; the grey had 
lost. 

At sunset, Bowen's retreating regiments re-crossed Bayou Pierre. 
The exhaustion of the troops was extreme. There was no food; the 
men sank down and slept, in the whispering Southern night, in the 
remote light of other worlds. At dawn began the slow falling-back 
upon Vicksburg. 

Lieutenant-General Pemberton telegraphed the situation to 
General Johnston in Tennessee, adding, "I should have large 
reinforcements." 

In Tennessee, Rosecrans lay menacingly before Bragg. Johnston 
telegraphed to Pemberton, "Reinforcements cannot be sent from 
here without giving up Tennessee.. Unite all your forces to meet 
Grant. Success will give you back what you abandoned to win it." 

Pemberton, personally a brave and good man, looked out south 
and east from Vicksburg over the sparsely settled, tangled country. 
He looked west, indeed; but it was too late now to gather to him the 
Army of the Trans-Mississippi. His mind agreed that perhaps it 
should have been done in December . . . The troops in Vicksburg 
and north of Vicksburg, the troops at Jackson, the troops falling 
back from Grand Gulf — leaving out the garrison at Port Hudson, 
one inight count, perhaps, thirty thousand effectives. Unite all 



78 CEASE FIRING 

these, but not at Vicksburg . . . move out from Vicksburg, ma- 
noeuvre here and manoeuvre there, and at last take Grant some- 
where at disadvantage. . . . General Johnston's plan as against 
the President's. . . , Leave Vicksburg defenceless, to be taken by 
some detached force, by Sherman, by the Federal men-of-war that 
could now march up and down the Mississippi. . . . Pemberton 
looked out at the batteries that had been built, all the field-works, 
all the trenches. Most useless of all considerations moved him, the 
consideration of the pity, of the waste of all these. He looked at the 
very gallant town; he thought of the spirit of an old gentleman and 
prominent citizen to whom he had talked yesterday. " Before God," 
said Pemberton, "I am not going to give up Vicksburg!" 

The third dayafter Port Gibson the th Virginia came again to 

its old camp above the river, just without the town. Here, the next 
morning, Edward Gary received an order to report to his colonel. 
He found the latter at Headquarters and saluted — the colonel be- 
ing an old schoolmate and hopelessly in love with his sister Unity. 
"Gary," said the colonel, "we're poorer than the Ragged Moun- 
tains, but apparently we are considered highly presentable, a real 
crack command, dandies and so forth! The War Department wants 
a word-of-mouth description of Mississippi conditions. In short, 
there 's an embassy going to Richmond. The general came down and 
asked if my uniform was whole and if I could muster two or three 
men in decent apparel. Said I thought I could, and that there was 
a patch, but I did n't think it would show. I am going to take you 
as my orderly. The train for Jackson leaves at midday." 
"Yes, sir. It is ten now. May I have the two hours ?" 
"Yes. I'll take you on now. Tell your captain." 
Outside he heard the news of the battle of Chancellorsville. 
"It was a victory! " said the men, sore from Port Gibson. "A big 
victory! We're having them straight along in Virginia." 
"It ain't a victory to have Stonewall Jackson wounded." 
"Telegram said he'd get well. Old Jack is n't going to leave us. 
God! We'd miss him awful!" 

Edward and Desiree had one hour together. They spent it in the 
garden, sitting beneath a flowering tree. 

"How soon are you coming back ? Oh, how soon are you coming 
back?" 



PORT GIBSON 79 

"As soon as we may. It must be soon, for the fighting will begin 
now. Port Gibson was but the opening gun." 

"We have been making the cave for this bouse larger. A 
siege. . . ." 

"I do not believe that we should pen ourselves up here. Grant 
can bring, if needed, a hundred thousand men. He is a dogged, 
earnest man. I think that we should concentrate as rapidly as pos- 
sible and move from behind these walls. The odds are not much 
greater than they were in the Valley, or during the Seven Days." 

"We have not General Jackson and General Lee." 

"No, but the Government should give General Johnston free 
hand. He is the third." 

"Oh, War! — When will it end and how ?" 

"When we have fought to a stand-still. There is a Trojan feel to 
it all. . . . How beautiful you are! — fighter of floods, keeper of 
home! warrior and sufferer more than I am warrior and sufferer! I 
do not know how to say good-bye." 

He had in Virginia three days. There was no time nor leave for 
Greenwood. His father was upon the Rappahannock, but in Rich- 
mond he saw Fauquier Gary. He had in Richmond two days. 

The town lay in May sunshine, in bloom of the earliest roses. 
They mantled the old porches, the iron balconies, while above the 
magnolias opened their white chalices. The town breathed gladness 
for the victory in the Wilderness, and bitter grief for the many 
dead, and bitter grief for Stonewall Jackson. Edward heard in 
Richmond the Dead March for Jackson and watched him borne 
through the sighing streets. He heard the minute guns, and the toll- 
ing bells, and the slow, heroic music, and the sobbing of the people. 
He saw the coffin, borne by generals, carried into the Capitol, up- 
ward and between the great white Doric columns, into the Hall of 
the Lower House, where it rested before the Speaker's chair. He was 
among the thousands who passed before the dead chieftain, lying in 
state among lilies and roses, shrouded in the flag of Virginia, in 
the starry banner of the Confederate States. All day he heard the 
tolling of the bells, the firing of the minute guns. 

On the morrow began the return journey to the Mississippi, long 
and slow on the creeping, outworn train, over the road that was so 
seldom mended. On the train crept, for many hundred miles, until 



8o CEASE FIRING 

just within the boundaries of Mississippi, at a crowded station, the 
passengers heard grave news. Jackson, the capital of the State, was 
in Federal hands! — there had been a desperate and disastrous battle 
at Baker's Creek, as desperate and more disastrous than Port Gibson! 
— there had been a Confederate rout at Big Black Bridge. . . , The 

colonel of the th Virginia, and the three or four officers and men 

with him, left the train, impressed horses, struck north, and then 
west and south. After three days they came upon a grey picket line, 
passed, and entered Vicksburg, where they found Pemberton with 
something over twenty thousand effectives, — the troops that had 
met defeat at Baker's Creek, with others not engaged, — all under 
orders from Richmond to hold Vicksburg at all hazards. 

On the eighteenth, the Federal forces appeared on the Jackson 
and Grapevine road, east of the town. The two following days were 
spent by the blue in making their lines of circumvallation. The grey 
and the blue lines were about eight hundred yards apart. On the 
twenty-second, the ironclads came up the river from Grand Gulf. 
When they opened fire on the town and its defences, which they did 
almost immediately, the siege of Vicksburg was formally begun. 



CHAPTER VIII 

IN VIRGINIA 

THIRTY guns of the horse artillery moved into position — not 
for battle, but for a splendid review. Right and left, emerg- 
ing from the Virginia forest and the leafy defiles between the 
hills, came with earth-shaking tread the cavalry, a great force of 
cavalry, Jeb Stuart's splendid brigades! In the misty, early morning 
they moved into line, having come up from Brandy Station to a 
plain north of Culpeper Court-House. It was the eighth of June, 
something more than a month after Chancellorsville. 

Beckham's Horse Artillery, that had been John Pelham's, having 
got into position, proceeded to take interest in the forming cavalry. 
There was so magnificently much of cavalry; it was so rested, so 
recuperated, so victorious, so proud of its past and determined as to 
its future, so easy, so fine, so glorious, so stamped, in short, with the 
stamp of Jeb Stuart, that to watch it was like watching a high and 
gay pageant! The sound of its movement, its jingle and clank, was 
delightful; delightful the brave lilt of voices, the neighing of impa- 
tient horses, delightful the keen bugles! The mist being yet heavy, 
there was much of mere looming shapes, sounds out of a fogbank. 
The plain was far spread, the review meant to be a noble one. There 
was a sense of distant gaiety as of near. The mist hid panoplied war, 
and far away bugles rang with an elfin triumph. 

A certain company of the horse artillery was beautifully placed on 
a small, clear knoll, above it the fine leaves, the drooping, sweet 
bloom of a soHtary locust. The guns were ranged in order, the horses 
in harness, cropping the wet grass where they stood. But it was 
early yet and the battery men had not received the order. To your 
pieces I They were clustered in groups, watching the gathering 
cavalry. Lean and easy and powerful, bronzed and young, they 
cheerfully commented upon life in general and the scene below. 

"Jeb is n't here yet! He bivouacked last night at Beverly Ford. 
Orderly, riding by, heard the banjo." 



82 CEASE FIRING 

"Is this review his notion or Marse Robert's ? " 

"I reckon I can answer that. I was at headquarters. Jeb came 
out of that lovely little cabin he 's got with a letter in his hand which 
he read to Heros von Borcke — " 

"Yes?" 

"And he said in it that he did n't believe there ever had been in 
this sinful world a finer cavalry force, and would n't the greatest 
general on earth come over with some of his friends and review the 
greatest body of horse — " 

"Sounds like him." 

"And he gave the letter to Heros von Borcke, who went off with 
it. And then I was at headquarters again — " 

"You sound hke the Old Testament! Well, you were at head- 
quarters again — ? " 

"And Heros von Borcke brought an order from Marse Robert — 
Jeb and all of us to come over and be reviewed on the plain north of 
Culpeper. Marse Robert said he 'd be there with 'some of his 
friends' — " 

"Longstreet, I reckon. A. P. Hill's still at Fredericksburg." 

"And they say Ewell's going toward the Valley — " 

To right and left there sprang a rustling. The sun strengthened, 
the mist began to lift, a number of bugles blared together. Into the 
very atmosphere sifted something like golden laughter. A shout 
arose — Jeb Stuart I Jeb Stuart I Jeb Stuart 1 

Out of the misty forest, borne high, a vivid square in the sea of 
pearl, came a large battle-flag. Crimson and blue and thirteen- 
starred, forth it paced, held high by the mounted standard bearer. 
The horse artillery saluted as it went by, going on to a sentinelled 
strip of greensward where stood three ancient and weather-beaten 
tents. Here it was planted, and here in the June wind it streamed 
outward so that every star might be seen. The mist yet held on the 
farther side of the plain, but all the nearer edge was growing light 
and sunny. The bugles rang. Jeb Stuart I Jeb Stuart ! shouted the 
plain above Culpeper. 

Stuart, followed by his staff, trotted from the forest. He wore his 
fighting jacket and his hat with the plume, he was magnificently 
mounted, he stroked his wonderful, sunny beard, and he laughed 
with his wonderful, sunny, blue eyes. He had more verve than any 



IN VIRGINIA 83 

leader in that army; he was brave as Ney; the army adored him! 
The victory of Chancellorsville was his victory no less than it was 
that of Stonewall Jackson and of Robert Lee. All knew it, and the 
victory was but five short weeks ago. The glory of the great fight 
hxmg about him like a golden haze, a haze that magnified, and yet 
that, perhaps, did not magnify overmuch, for he was a noble cavalry 
leader. Suddenly, — 

" Old Joe Hooker, won't you come ovi of the Wilderness ? " 

chanted the hosts about him. 

He lifted his hat. The horse, that had about his arching neck a 
great wreath of syringa and roses, pranced on to the colours and 
stopped. Staff drew up, bugles blew, there came a sound of drum 
and fife, mist began rapidly to lift. " Oh," breathed Horse Artillery, 
getting into place, "most things have a compensatory side!" 

From the misty middle of the plain came with tramp and jingle 
another mounted party. One rode ahead on a grey horse. Noble of 
form and noble of face, simple and courteous, he came up to the 
great flag and grandeur came with him . General Lee I General Lee I 
shouted Cavalry, shouted Horse Artillery. 

Stuart, who had dismounted, came forward, saluting. 

"Ah, General," said Lee. "I am going to review you with much 
pleasure, and I have taken you at your word and brought with me 
some of my friends." 

Stuart beamed upon Longstreet, commander of the First Corps, 
and upon several division generals. 

"Oh, I have brought more than these!" said Lee. "Look how the 
sun is drinking up the mist!" 

As he spoke the sim finished the draught. The rolling plain north 
of Culpeper lay bare. All the dewy, green middle waited for the 
cavalry evolutions, for the march past, but the farther side, up and 
down and over against Jeb Stuart's flag, was already occupied 
and not by cavalry. Troops and troops and troops, like a grey wall 
pointed with banners! — Horse Artillery, from its place of vantage, 
stared, then softly crowed. "Great day in the morning! Marse 
Robert has brought the whole First Corps!" 

Now here, now there, on the plain, went in brilliant manoeuvres 



84 CEASE FIRING 

the cavalry. The horse artillery came into line, manoeuvred and 
thundered as brilliantly. The massed infantry cheered, the review- 
ing general stood with a grave light in his eyes. Jeb Stuart shifted his 
place like a sunbeam. Oh, the blowing bugles; oh, the red and blue 
flag outstreaming; oh, the sunlight and the clear martial sounds and 
the high, high hopes on the plain north of Culpeper ! June was in the 
heart of most; doubly, doubly was it the Confederacy's June, this 
month! Great victories in Virginia lay behind it: in the Far South 
there had been disasters, but Vicksburg — Vicksburg was heroically 
standing the siege. And in front lay, perhaps, the crossing of the 
Potomac and the carrying the war into Africa! June, June, June! it 
sang in the blood of the grey. Long and horrible had been the war, 
and many were the lost, and tears had drenched the land, but now it 
was summer and victory would come before the autumn. The 
North was I tired of spilling blood and treasure; there sounded a 
clamour for peace. One or two other great victories, and peace would 
descend and the great Confederacy would standi The march past 
raised its eyes to the crimson banner with the thirteen stars, and 
June was in every soldier's heart. 

The march past was a thing to have seen and to remember. By the 
starry banner, by Robert Edward Lee, went the cavalry brigades 
of his son, "Roony" Lee, of his nephew, Fitzhugh Lee, of Beverly 
Robertson, of W. E. Jones, of Wade Hampton. They lifted their 
sabres, the sun made a dazzle of steel. June, June, June! sang the 
bugles, sang the birds in the woods back of the warm-hearted, the 
admiring infantry. Past went the horse artillery, the thirty guns, 
the proud battery horses, the easy and bronzed cannoneers, the 
grave young officers. . . . General Lee! General Lee I shouted 
Cavalry, shouted Artillery ! The dust rose from the plain, all grew a 
shinunering blur. . . . 

It was over, the great cavalry review. The day descended; the 
troops drew off toward hidden bivouacs. Lee and Longstreet and 
Stuart rode together awhile, under the sunset sky. StafiE, behind 
them, understood that great things were being spoken of — marches 
toward Maryland, perhaps, or a watch on Joe Hooker, or the, of 
late, vastly increased efficiency of the enemy's cavalry. Staff had its 
own opinion as to this. "They always could fight, and now they've 
learned to ride! Pity!" 



IN VIRGINIA 8^ 

"I don't call it a pity. I'd rather meet them equal. Pleasanton's, 
all right." 

"We've had a beautiful review and we've also made a lot of 
noise, to say nothing of a dust cloud like the Seven Days come back. 
Double pickets to-night, I should say. We are n't a million miles 
from Hooker." 

"That's true enough. — Haiti General Lee's going back." 

Under a great flush of sunset coral and gold above the trees, Lee 
and his cavalry leader parted. The one smiled, the other laughed, 
they touched gauntleted hands, and Lee turned grey Traveller. 
Longstreet joined him and they rode away, staff falling in behind, 
out of the June-time forest, back to the encampment at Culpeper. 
A moment and their figures were drowned in the violet evening. 
Jeb Stuart, singing, plunged with his staff into the woods. His head- 
quarters were at Brandy Station. 

The starry night found this village filled with troops. They 
bivouacked, moreover, all about it, on Fleetwood Hill and toward 
St. James Church. There were outposts, too, toward the Rappa- 
hannock; a considerable troop tethered its horses on the bank above 
Beverly Ford. Others went toward Providence Church and Norman's 
Ford, others toward Kelly's. Eight thousand horse bivouacked 
beneath the stars. Camp-fire saw camp-fire, and the rustling night 
wind and the murmuring streams heard other voices than their own, 
heard voices full of cheer. 

The horse artillery prepared to spend the night in a grassy field 
beside the Beverly Ford road. Li front was a piece of thick woods. 
The battery horses, tethered in a long line, began to crop the grass. 
The guns, each known and loved like an old familiar, were parked. 
The men gathered dry wood for their supper fires, fried their bacon, 
baked their corn-meal pones, brewed their "coffee" — chiccory, 
rye, or sweet potato, as the case might be. There was much low 
laughter and crooning, and presently clouds of tobacco smoke. 
Beautiful review — beautiful day — rest to-night — march to- 
morrow — Jeb lovely as ever — going to end this blessed war — 
pile on the pine knots so we can read the letters from home! . . . 

Toward midnight, on the farther edge of the wood, a post of the 
horse artillery relieved its pickets. The sound of the retiring steps. 
died away and the fresh sentinels took cognizance of their positions. 



86 CEASE FIRING 

The positions were some distance apart, between them wood and 
imeven ground and the murmurous night. Each picket was a lonely 
man, with the knowledge only that if he raised his voice to a shout 
he would be heard. 

The moon shone brightly. It silvered the Beverly Ford road and 
made a frosted wall of the forest left and right, and bathed with the 
mildest light the open and undulating country. Somewhere a whip- 
poor-will was calling. Whip-poor-will 1 Whip-poor-will I 

Beside the road sprang a giant sycamore. From beneath it Philip 
Deaderick, once Richard Cleave, standing picket, watched the 
night. He stood straight and still, powerfully knit, his short rifle in 
the hollow of his arm. He stood grave and quiet, a wronged but not 
unhappy man. The inner life, the only life, had marched on. A gulf 
had opened and certain hopes and happinesses had fallen therein, 
but his life was larger than those hopes and happinesses. The inner 
man had marched on. He had marched even with a quickened step 
in this last month. " What did it matter? " reasoned Cleave. "Those 
whom I love know, and I am not cut off from service, no, nor from 
growth!" Around, above, below the sharpened point of the mo- 
ment he was aware enough of the larger man. The point might 
ache at times, but he knew also impersonal freedom. . . . Things 
might be righted some day or they might not be righted. He could 
wait. He looked from the shadow of the sycamore out upon the 
lovely, moonlit land. Tragedy, death, and sorrow through all the 
world, interpretations at grips, broken purposes, misunderstandings, 
humanity groping, groping! He ached for it all — for the woman 
sleepless on her pillow, for the prisoner in prison. The spirit 
widened; he stood calm under all, quiet, with suspended judg- 
ment. Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! He looked up and studied 
the stars between the silver branches of the sycamore, then dropped 
his gaze and leaned slightly forward, for he heard the tread of horses 
on the road. 

Two horsemen, one in front, the other a little way behind, came 
quietly up the silver streak. 

"Halt!" said Deaderick. 

The two drew rein. "All right!" said the one in advance. "A 
friend. Colonel of Cary's Legion, with an orderly." 

"Advance, friend, and give the countersign." 



IN VIRGINIA 87 

"Ivry." 

"Correct, Jury. Pass!" 

The oflScer, with a motion of his hand to the orderly to stay whercf 
he was, came closer to the picket. "Before I do so," he said, and his 
tone was a strange one, " tell me your name." 

"Philip Deaderick." 

"You are tr3dng to disguise your voice. . . . Richard I" 

"Don't, Fauquier! I am Philip Deaderick, gunner in 's 

battery, horse artillery." 

"How long?" 

"Since Groveton. Don't betray me." 

"Who knows ? Does Judith know ?" 

"Yes. She and my mother." 

The other covered his eyes with his hand, then spoke, much 
moved. "Richard, if ever this war gives us time we might reopen 
matters. We surely have influence enough — " 

"I know, Fauquier. But there is no time now to be given nor stress 
to be laid on private matters. Somehow they have sunk away. . . . 
Perhaps a day will come, and perhaps it will not come. ... In the 
mean time dismissal from the army has not worked. I am back in 
the army." 

"And are not unhappy ? You do not sound unhappy." 

"No. I am not unhappy. Only now and then. ... Be careful, 
will you ? If I were known I should be unhappy soon enough!" 

"You maytrust me." He leaned from the saddle and put his hand 
on the other's shoulder. "Richard, you're a true man. I've always 
honoured you, and I honour you more than ever! Truth will out! 
You be sure of that." 

" I am at times reasonably sure of it, Fauquier. And if it does not 
appear, I am reasonably sure that I can endure the darkness.. I told 
you that I was not unhappy." He laid an affectionate touch on the 
other's hand. " I was sorry enough to hear about the arm, Fauquier." 

"Oh," said Cary, "I have learned to use the left. I had rather it 
was the arm than the leg, like dear old Ewell! . . . Richard, meet- 
ing you like this moves me more than I can well let show. I 've got so 
much of my mother in me that I 'd like to kiss you, my dear — " He 
bent as he spoke and touched with his lips the other's broad, uplifted 
brow, which done, with a great handclasp they parted. Cary, turn- 



88 CEASE FIRING 

ing, called to the orderly who came up. The two rode on toward 
Brandy Station, and Deaderick resumed his watch. 

Another time passed. The moon rode high, the forest rustled, the 
road lay a silver streak. Deaderick, still and straight beneath the 
sycamore, presently turned his head and regarded the line of woods 
upon his left. He had caught a sound — but it was some distance 
away. It had been faint, but it was like a horse being pushed 
cautiously through undergrowth. Now there was no more of it. 
He stood listening, with narrowed eyes. The bushes a hundred feet 
away parted and a man and horse emerged. They stopped a mo- 
ment and the man rose in his stirrups and looked about him. Then, 
with a satisfied nod, he settled to the saddle again and the two came 
through the thin growth down to the road. 

"Halt!" said Deaderick, cocking his rifle. 

The horseman came on. "Halt! or I fire." 

The horse was stopped. "Don't waste your bullets on mel" said 
the rider coolly. "Save them for the Yankees." 

"Dismount before you advance." 

" I have the countersign. I am Lieutenant Francis, bearing aa 
enquiry from General Lee." 

"Dismount before you advance." 

The officer dismounted. He was a tall man, wrapped, though the 
night was warm, in a grey horseman's cloak. "You are tremend- 
ously careful to-night! I suppose my horse may follow me ? He 
does n't stand well." 

" Fasten him to the sapling beside you. — Advance and give the 
countersign." 

The tall man came up, revealing, beneath a grey hat pulled low, a 
tanned countenance with long mustaches. "Ivry. I'll tell General 
Stuart that you are about the most cautious picket he's got. I 
remember having to convince just such another when I was in 
Texas in '43 — " 

"Did you convince him?" 

"I did. The word is Ivry. Allow me to pass." 

"Be so good first as to open your cloak. It is too warm to wear 
it so." 

"My man, you are on your way to the guardhouse. Messengers 
from General Lee are not accustomed — What is that ? " 



IN VIRGINIA 89 

"Nothing. I was humming a line of an old carol. Do you remem- 
ber the road to Frederick ? " 

Dead silence, then a movement of Marchmont's hand beneath 
the cloak. Cleave divined, and was upon him. Not so tall, but more 
powerfully built and a master wrestler, the tug of war was a short 
one. The pistol, wrenched from the Englishman's grasp, fell to the 
groimd and was kicked away. The two struggling figures swung 
roxmd until Marchmont was nearer the sycamore. Cleave between 
him and the horse. Another fierce instant and the Englishman was 
thrown — the picket's rifle covered him. 

"I regret it," said Cleave, "but it can't be helped. I wish that 
some other had been sent in your place." He raised his voice to a 
shout. "Picket two! A prisoner. Send guard!" There came back 
a faint "All right! Hold on!" 

Marchmont sat up and picked the leaves from his clothing. 
"Well, I have thought of you more than once, and wished that we 
might meet again! Not precisely under such auspices as these, but 
imder others. I was obliged to you, I remember, that day at Front 
Royal." 

"It was a personal matter then, in which I might indulge my 
own indination. To-night I regret that it is not a personal 
matter." 

"Exactly. Well, I bear you no grudge. 'Fortune of war!' At 
Front Royal you were a colonel leading a charge — may I ask why I 
find you playing sentry ?" 

"That is a long story," said Cleave. "I am sorry that I should 
be your captor, and it is entirely within your right to deny the 
request I am going to make. I am Philip Deaderick, a private 
soldier. I ask you to forget that I ever had another name." 

"All right, Philip Deaderick, private soldier!" said Marchmont. 
"Whatever may be your reasons, I won't blab. I liked you very 
well on the road to Frederick, and very well that day at Front 
Royal. — To-night was just a cursed fanfaronade. Knew you 
must all be hereabouts. Crossed over to see what I could see, got 
the word and this damned cloak and hat from a spy, and ambled 
at once into the arms of a man who could recognize me! Absurd! 
And here comes the guard." 

Guard came up. "What is it, Deaderick ? Deserter ? Spy ?" 



90 CEASE FIRING 

"It's not a deserter," said Deaderick. "It's somebody in a blue 
imiform beneath a grey cloak. I don't think he's an accredited spy 
— probably just an officer straying around and by chance hearing 
the word and acting on the spur of the moment. You'd better take 
him to the captain back on the road." 

Another hour passed and he was relieved. Back with the outpost 
he lay down upon the summer earth and tried to sleep. But the 
two encounters of the night had set the past to ringing. He could 
not still the reverberations. Greenwood! Greenwood! — the place 
and one within it — and one within it — and one within it! . . . 
And then Marchmont, and the hopes and ambitions that once 
Richard Cleave had known. "A colonel leading a charge" — 
and the highest service in sight — and a man's knowledge of his 
own ability. . . . Philip Deaderick turned and lay with his face to 
the earth, his arm across his eyes. He fought it out, the thousandth 
inner battle, then turned again and lay, looking sideways along the 
misty night. 

In the distance a cock crew. The chill air, the unearthly quiet told 
the hour before dawn. The east grew pale, then into it crept faint 
streaks of purple. The birds in the woodland began incessantly to 
cheep I cheep ! The mist was very heavy. It hid the road,'swathed{all 
the horizon. Reveille sounded: the bugler, mounted on a hill behind 
the guns, looked, in the moody light, like some Brocken spectre. 
Far and wide, full at hand, thin and elfin in the distance, rang 
other reveilles. They rang through the streets of Brandy Station 
and through the surrounding forests, fields, and dales, waking Jeb 
Stuart's thousands from their sleep. 

Horse Artillery stood up, rubbed its eyes, and made a speedy 
toilet. In the shortest possible time the men were cooking break- 
fast. Cooking breakfast being at no time in the Army of Northern 
Virginia a prolonged operation, they were to be f oimd in an equally 
short space of time seated about mess-fires eating it. It was yet dank 
and chilly dawn, the east reddening but not so very red, the mist 
hanging heavy, closing all perspectives. Horse Artillery lifted its tin 
cup, filled with steaming mock'-coffee, to its lips — Crack I crack 1 
came the rifle shots from the Beverly Ford woods. Horse Artillery 
set down its cup. "What's that ? What are all those pickets firing 
that way for? Good Lord, if there's going to be a surprise, why 



IN VIRGINIA 91 

could n't they wait until after breakfast ? Get the horses and Umber 
up I — All right, Captain — " 

Vedettes, driven in, came galloping up the road. "Blue cavalry! 
No end of blue cavalry! Column crossing, and a whole lot of them 
up in the woods! Nobody could see them, the mist was so heavy! 
You slow old Artillery, you'd better look out!" 

Beckham came up. " Captain Hart, draw a piece by hand down 
into the road! Get hitched up there, double-quick! Into position on 
the knoll yonder! -r- Oh, here comes support!" 

The Sixth Virginia Cavalry had been on picket; the Seventh 
Virginia Cavalry doing grand guard. Alert and in the saddle, they 
had seen and heard. Now from toward Brandy Station up they 
raced, like a friendly whirlwind, to the point of danger. A cheer 
from the artillery welcomed them, and they shouted in return. 
Floumoy and the Sixth dashed down the Beverly Ford road and 
deployed in the woods to the right. Marshall and the Seventh fol- 
lowed and deployed to the left. Artillery limbered up and took to 
the high ground near St. James Church. Up galloped Eleventh and 
Twelfth Virginia and fell into line behind the guns. 

Jeb Stuart, in the saddle on Fleetwood Hill, his blue eyes 
upon the Beverly Ford situation, found a breathless aide beside 
him. 

"General! General! They're crossing below at Kelly's Ford! 
Two divisions — artillery and infantry behind ! They 've got us front 
and rear!" 

Stuart's eyes danced. He stroked his beard. "All right! All 
right! I '11 send Robertson and Hampton — Here'sW. F.H.Lee — 
Cary, too! This is going to be the dandiest fight!" 

A brigadier galloped up. " General, shall we detach regiments to 
guard all approaches ? " 

"Too many approaches, General! We'll keep concentrated and 
deliver the blow where the blow is due! Will you listen to that de- 
lightful fuss? — Dabney, you go tell General Hampton to place 
a dismounted battalion by Carrico Mills." 

The clang and firing in the Beverly Ford woods grew furious — 
the Sixth and Seventh fighting with the Eighth New York and the 
Eighth Illinois. On pushed the Federal horse, many and bold, 
Buford's Regulars, trained, eflicient. The forward surge, the back- 



92 CEASE FIRING 

ward giving, brought all upon the edge of the wood. There was 
charge and countercharge, carbine firing, sabring, shouts, scream 
of horses, shock and fire, hand-to-hand fighting. Back and upward 
roared the surge, up and over the hill where were the guns, the guns 
that were trained, but could not be fired, so inextricably was friend 
intertwined with foe. The shouting blue laid hold of the guns; the 
cannoneers fought hand-to-hand, with pistol muzzle and pistol butt, 
dragging at the horses' reins, striking men from the saddle, covering 
the guns, wrenching off the blue clutch. Then came like a jubilant 
whirlwind the supporting grey, Hampton and Lee. 

"Is n't it beautiful ? " asked Jeb Stuart on Fleetwood Hill. "Oh, 
ho! They're coming thick from Kelly's Ford!" 

"General Robertson reports, sir, that there's artillery and infan- 
try on his front. The cavalry, in great strength, is sweeping to the 
right—" 

"Fine! They're all coming to Fleetwood Hill. Go, tell Major 
Beckham to send any guns that he can spare." 

Beckham sent two of McGregor's. Artillery was in straits of its 
own. Charges from the Beverly Ford woods might be repelled, but 
now arose the dust and thunder of the advance from Kelly's. Im- 
possible to stay before St. James Church and become grain between 
the upper and nether millstones! Artillery fell back, first to Pettis's 
Hill, then to Fleetwood, and fell back with three pieces disabled. 
Before they could get into position, Buford's regiments charged 
again. There followed a melee. The cannoneers, too, must deal 
with that charge. They had pistols which they used, they had 
sponge staff and odd bits of iron. As soon as it was humanly pos- 
sible, they got a gun into service — then two. The shells broke 
and scattered the shouting blue lines. 

Through Brandy Station charged regiment after regiment, — 
blue, magnificent, shouting, — Gregg and DufiSe's divisions up 
from Kelly's Ford. A dismounted squadron of Robertson's broke 
before them; they fell upon a supporting battery and took the guns. 
On they roared, through Brandy Station, out to Fleetwood Hill. 
Jeb Stuart swung his hat. "Now, Cavalry of the Army of Northern 
Virginia! Now, Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia!" 

There followed a great cavalry fight. Squadron dashed against 
squadron. All was gleaming and dust and shouting, carbine smoke 



IN VIRGINIA 93 

and wheeled lightning of sabres. Jime stood a-tiptoe; the earth 
seemed to rock; a hundred brilliant colours went in sparkles before 
the eyes, the ears rang. There was a mad excitement in which, 
whether time plunged forward like a cataract, or stood still like an 
arrested hearkener to the last trump, none in that abandonment 
coiild have told. It was a gay fight, shrieking with excitement, the 
horses mad as the riders, the air shaking like castanets. The squad- 
rons crashed together, the sabres swung, the pistols cracked! Down 
went men and horses, biting the dust, gaiety going out like a blown 
candle. Without, air and sunshine and wild animal exultation; 
within, pain, smothering, and darkness, darkness. . . . The guns 
were taken, the guns were retaken; the grey gave back, the blue 
gave back. The battle lines wheeled and charged, wheeled and 
charged. There was shock and fire and a mad melee — a staccato 
fight, with cymbal and quick drvun. And ever in front tossed the 
feather of Stuart. 

To and fro, through the hot Jvme weather, the battle swung. 
Though no one could tell the time, time passed. The blue gave 
back — slowly. Slowly the grey pressed them eastward. A train 
shrieked into Brandy Station, and grey infantry came tmnbling out. 
Loud blew Pleasanton's bugles. " Leave the fight a drawn fight, and 
come away!" 

With deliberation the blue, yet in battle front, moved eastward 
to the fords of the Rappahannock. After them pressed the grey. 
An aide, dust from head to foot, rode neck by neck with Stuart. 
"General! we are being hard put to it on the left — Buford's 
Regulars! General Lee has a wound. We've got a battery, but 
the ammunition's out — " The feather of Stuart turned again to 
the Beverly Ford road. 

W. H. F. Lee's troops, re-forming, charged again, desperately, 
brilliantly. Munford, commanding Fitzhugh Lee's brigade, had 
been up the river at Wellford's Ford. Now, bringing with him 
Breathed's battery, he fell upon the blue flank. Buford gave way; 
the grey came on with a yell. Down through the Beverly woods, 
past the spot where, at dawn, there had been outpost fighting, down 
to the ford again, rolled the blue. The feather of Stuart went by in 
pursuit. 

Philip Deaderick, resting after a hard fight, leaning against a yet 



94 CEASE FIRING 

smoking gun, watched with his fellows the retreat of the tide that 
had threatened to overwhelm. The tide was finding outlet by all 
the fords of the Rappahannock. It was streaming back from all the 
region about Brandy Station. It went in spirits, retiring, but hardly 
what one might call defeated. It had been, in sooth, all but a drawn 
battle — a brilliant cavalry battle, to be likened, on an enormous 
scale, to some flashing joust of the Middle Ages. 

Deaderick, watching, leaned forward with a sound almost of 
satisfactiqn. Below him passed two men, riding double, blue gal- 
lopers toward Beverly Ford. The one behind, without cloak or hat, 
saw him, waved his arm and shouted, "Au revoir, Lieutenant 
McNeil!" 



CHAPTER IX 

THE STONEWALL 

FIVE days before the fight at Brandy Station, Ewell and the 
Second Corps, quitting the encampment near Fredericksburg 
and marching rapidly, had disappeared in the distance toward 
the Valley. Two days after the fight, Hooker, well enough aware 
by now that grey plans were hatching, began the withdrawal of the 
great army that had rested so long on the northern bank of the Rap- 
pahannock. A. P. Hill and the Third Corps, watching operations 
from the south bank, waited only for the withdrawal from Falmouth 
of the mass of the enemy. When it was gone, Hill and the Third, 
moving with expedition, joined Lee and Longstreet at Culpeper 
Court-House. 

Stuart and his thousands rested from Brandy Station and observed 
movements. All day the grey infantry moved by, streaming toward 
the Blue Ridge. Cavalry speculated. "Jeb knows, of course, and 
the brigadiers I reckon, and I suppose Company Q knows, but I wish 
I did! Are we going to Ohio, or Maryland, or Pennsylvania, or just 
back to the blessed old Valley? I don't hold with not telling soldiers 
things, just because they don't have bars on their collars or stars or 
sashes! We've got a right to know — " 

" What 's in those wagons — the long white ones with six horses? " 

"Dangedif Iknow!" 

" Boys, I know ! Them 's pontoons ! " 

"Pontoons/ We're going to cross the Potomac!" 

On went the infantry, over country roads, through the forest, 
over open fields. There were no fences now in this region, and few, 
few standing crops. All day the infantry streamed by, going toward 
the Blue Ridge. Before sunset blew the trumpets of Stuart. "Boot 
and saddle!" quoth the men. "Now we are going, too!" 

Ewell and the Second Corps, far in advance of the First, the Third 
and the cavalry, pierced the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap. " Old Dick " 
had left a leg at Groveton, but he himself was here, going ahead of 



96 CEASE FIRING 

his troops, a graver man than of old, but irascible yet, quaintly 
lovable yet and well loved. Behind him he heard the tramp of his 
thousands, Jubal Early's division, Edward Johnson's division, the 
division of Rodes. They were going back to the Valley, and thejr 
were going to take Winchester, held by Milroy and eight thousand. 
The Stonewall Brigade, led now by Walker, was numbered in 
Edward Johnson's division. It marched near the head of the column, 
and it gazed with an experienced eye upon the wall of the Blue 
Ridge. How many times, O Mars, how many times! Up, up the 
June heights wound the column, between leafy towers, by running 
water, beneath a cloudless sky. The Sixty-fifth Virginia, Colonel 
Erskine, broke into song. 

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
An' never brought to mind . . . 
For auld lang sjTie, my dear, 
For auld lang syne — " 

Allan Gold was not marching with the Sixty-fifth. He was half a 
day ahead, scouting. Around stretched the rich woods of the western 
slope of the Blue Ridge, below lay the wooded valley of the Shenan- 
doah. He saw the road to Front Royal, and before him the Massa- 
nuttens closed the view. He had been travelling since sun-up, and 
now, at noon, he was willing enough to camp awhile. He chose the 
bottom of a knife-blade ravine where was a trickle of water beneath 
laurels in bloom. The sun came down between leaves of ash and 
hickory; the topmost branches just stirred, bees buzzed, birds 
sang far and wide. He was quite alone with the earth. First he set 
his rifle against a hickory, and then he gathered a very small heap of 
twigs and dead leaves, and then he set fire to these. From his haver- 
sack he took a metal plate, one side of a burst canteen. It made a 
small but splendid griddle and he set it on the coals. Then out came 
a fragment of bacon and two pieces of hard-tack. He fried the 
bacon, then crumbled the hard-tack in the gravy and made " coosh." 
Then, with slow enjoyment, he ate the bacon and the coosh. When 
the last atom was gone, he lifted the griddle, handling it with a 
thick glove of leaves, plunged it in the streamlet, washed it clean, 
and restored it, sun-dried, to his haversack. This done, he took out a 
small bag of tobacco and his pipe, filled the latter, and with his back 
against the hickory began to smoke. He was happy, alone with the 



THE STONEWALL 97 

earth whom he understood. Long and blond and strong, the grey 
of his clothing weatherbeaten until it was like in hue to the russet 
last year's leaves on which he lay, he looked a man of an old-time 
tale, Siegfried, perhaps, quiet and happy in the deep, deep forest. 
When the pipe was empty, he cleaned it and restored it to his 
pocket. This done, he routed out the side of the haversack de- 
voted to apparel, comb, toothbrush, and — when he could get it 
— soap, together with other small articles. He had a little New 
Testament in which he conscientiously read at least once a week. 
Now he took this up. Between its pages lay an unopened letter. 
He uttered an exclamation. It had come to him at Fredericksburg, 
an hour before marching. He had had no time to read it then, and 
he had put it here. Then had come the breaking camp, the going 
ahead — he could hardly tell whether he had forgotten it or had 
simply taken up the notion that it had been read. He laughed. 
"Well, Aunt Sairy, it never happened before!" He opened it now, 
settled his shoulders squarely against the hickory, and read — 

"Dear Allan: — It's Tom's turn to write, but he says I do it 
because his hand's took to shaking so. The doctor says it's just 
eagerness — he wants to know all the time and at the right identical 
minute what's happening. And even the newspapers don't know 
that, though Lord knows they think they do ! But it 's just as bad to 
be sick with eagerness as to be sick with anything else. It 's sickness 
just the same as if it was typhoid or pleurisy. Yes, Allan, I'm 
anxious enough about Tom, — though, of course, I did n't read that 
out to him. He's sitting in the simshine holding the toll-box, and 
there ain't anything in it — and there never will be until you all 
stop this fool war. The doctor says — Yes, Tom! . . . Allan, you 
just straighten this letter out in your own head." 

Oh, it straightened out well enough in Allan's head! He let the 
hand that held it drop upon the leaves, and he looked up the knife- 
blade ravine to where the green rim of the mountain touched the 
blue. He saw Thunder Run Mountain, and he heard, over the mur- 
mur of surrounding trees, the voice of Thunder Run. He saw with 
the inner eye the toll-house, the roses and the pansies and the bees. 
It was not going well with the toll-house — he knew that. Tom 



98 CEASE FIRING 

failing, and no toll taken, the county probably paying nothing. . , .. 
Where was the money with which it could pay? Sairy fighting hard 

— he saw her slight, bent old figure — fighting hard now with this 
end, now with that, to make them meet. He knew they would never 
meet now, not while this war lasted. It was one of the bitter by- 
products — that never meeting. There was nothing to send — he 
himself had had no pay this long while. Pay, in the Southern 
armies, was a vanishing quantity. 

The wood blurred before Allan's eyes. He sighed and took up the 
letter again. 

"The school-house is most fallen down. They told me so, and 
I went up the Run one evening and looked at it. It's so. It 
looked like a yearning ghost. Christianna tried to teach the children 
awhile this spring, but Christianna never was no bookworm. An' 
then she had to do the spring ploughing, for Mrs. Maydew went 
down into the Valley to nurse the smallpox soldiers. Mrs. Cleave 
went, too, from Three Oaks. I have n't got much of a garden this 
year, but the potatoes and sparrowgrass look fine. The wrens have 
built again in the porch. They're company for Tom, now that 
there's so little other company. He's named the one Adam and 
the other Eve — Lord knows they're wiser than some Adams and 
Eves I know! — Tom 's calling! — 

"It was n't anything. He thought it was a wagon coming up the 
road. If this war don't stop soon, some of us won't be here to see it 
stop. And now he says if he just had a little something sweet to eat 

— and there ain't no sugar nor nothing in the house! 

"Lord sake, Allan, I didn't mean to write like this! I know 
you've got your end to bear. Tom is n't really so sick, and I'm jest 
as right as ever I was! The sun's shining and the birds are singing, 
and the yellow cat's stretching himself, and the gourd vine's got a 
lot of flowers, and I bet you 'd like to hear Thunder Run this minute ! 
Steve Dagg's still here and limping — when he thinks anybody's 
looking. Rest of the time he uses both feet. He's making up to 
Christianna Maydew — " 

Allan's hand closed on the paper. "Steve Dagg making up to 
Christianna Maydew! Why — damn him — " He was not a swear- 



THE STONEWALL 99 

ing man, but he swore now, rising from the ground to do so. He 
did not pause to analyze his feeling. A cool-blooded, quiet-natured 
man, he found himself suddenly wild with wrath. He with the bal- 
ance of the Sixty-fifth had fully recognized Steve Dagg as the blot 
on their 'scutcheon — but personally, the blot had until now only 
amused and disgusted him. Quite suddenly he found the earth too 
small for both Allan Gold and Stephen Dagg. 

Standing in the deep and narrow ravine and looking upward he 
had a vision. He saw Thunder Run Mountain, and high on the 
comb of it, the log house of the Maydews. He saw the ragged 
mountain garden sloping down, and the ragged mountain field. All 
about was a kind of violet mist. It parted and he saw Christianna 
standing in the doorway. 

Allan Gold sat down upon a stone beside the brook. He leaned 
forward, his clasped hands hanging below his knees. The clear, dark 
water gave him back his face and form. He sat so, very still, for 
some minutes, then he drew a long, long breath. "I have been," he 
said, "all kinds of a fool." 

Sairy's letter offered but a few more words. He read them through, 
folded the paper thoughtfully and carefully, and laid it between the 
leaves of the Testament. Then he stood up, carefully extinguished 
with his foot the fire of leaves and twigs, took his rifle, and turned his 
face toward the Shenandoah. . 

Thirty-six hours later found him waiting, a little east of 
Front Royal, for the column. It appeared, winding through the 
woods, Ewell riding at the head, with him Jubal Early and J. B. 
Gordon. Allan stood out from the ferny margin of the wood and 
saluted. 

"Hello ! " said Old Dick. " It 's the best scout in the service ! " 

Allan gave his information. "General, I've been talking to an 
old farmer and his wife, refugeeing from the Millwood section. 
They believed there was a considerable Yankee force at Berry- 
ville. So I went on for a few miles, and got three small boys and 
sent them into Berryville on a report that there was a circus in 
town. They got the news all right and came back with it. Mc- 
Rennolds is there with something like fifteen himdred men and a 
considerable amount of stores." 

"Is he?" quoth Old Dick. "Then, when we get .to Cedarville 



loo CEASE FIRING 

I'll send somebody to get that honey out of the gum tree! Now you 
go on, Gold, and get some more information." 

The column marched through Front Royal. All of Front Royal 
that was there came out and wept and laughed and cheered, and 
dashed out to the ranks to shake hands, to clasp, to kiss. " Oh, don't 
you remember, little more'n a year ago — and all the things that 
have happened since! The North Fork — and the burnt bridge — 
and Ashby at Buckton. . . . Oh, Ashby 1 . . . and the fight with 
Kenly — and the big charge — and Stonewall Jackson. . . . ' My 
father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!'" 

The column crossed the Shenandoah and came to Cedarville, 
where it rested for the night. Here there reported to Ewell Jenkins's 
cavalry brigade. In the morning Old Dick sent this body of horse, 
together with Rodes's division, across country to Berryville with 
instructions to capture or disperse McRennolds's command, and 
then to press on to Martinsburg. Ewell himself, with Early and 
Edward Johnson's divisions, took the road that led by Middletown 
and Nineveh to the Valley Pike. 

At Nineveh Allan Gold again appeared. "General, I've been 
almost into Winchester. Milroy has breastworks all around, and 
he's well off in artillery. The hills west and northwest of the town 
command his works." 

"All right, all right!" said Ewell. "Winchester's going to see 
another battle." 

On the morning of the thirteenth the column divided. Edward 
Johnson, with Nounnan's cavalry force, keeping on upon the Front 
Royal and Winchester road, while Early's division struck the 
Valley Pike at Newtown. 

The Valley Pike! The Valley soldiers — of whom there were a 
number in this division, though more in Edward Johnson's — the 
Valley soldiers had last seen the Valley Pike in October — and now 
it was June. They had seen it in a glory of crimson and gold, and a 
violet haze of Indian summer, and then they had left it, Stonewall 
Jackson riding ahead. . . . and then had come Fredericksburg . . . 
and then had come the Wilderness. 

"Howdy, Valley Pike!" said the soldiers. "It's been long that 
we've been away! Did you miss us, old girl ? We've missed you. 
A lot of us did n't come back, but here's some of us!" 



THE STONEWALL loi 

Through the hot afternoon Jubal Early and his troops moved 
down the pike toward Winchester. Near Bartonsville, in position 
upon a low hill, they found the First Maryland Infantry and the 
Baltimore Artillery. 

Colonel Herbert of the First reported. "They 've got a force, sir, 
at Kernstown, and a battery on Pritchard's Hill. We've been 
skirmishing off and on all day." 

"All right!" swore Old Jube. "I'll send the Louisiana Brigade 
and dislodge that battery." 

Hays and the Louisianians went, crossing the meadow and skirt- 
ing the ridge, marching where had marched the Army of the Valley 
on the old field of Kernstown. The blue battery removed from 
Pritchard's Hill; they took that eminence without difficulty. Hays 
sent back tidings of Federal infantry massing to the left. Early 
ordered Gordon forward. That dashing officer and brave and 
handsome man swung by with his brigade. Joining Hays, the two, 
Georgia and Louisiana, drove the blue detachment over field and 
ridge and Abraham's Creek to Bowers's Hill. This, infantry and 
artillery, the blue seized and held through the night. The brigades 
of Hoke and Smith arrived, but it was twilight and a drenching 
summer rain. The grey bivouacked on the field of Kernstown. 

Dawn came up, hot and still, and with it Old Dick to confer with 
Old Jube. Council over, Gordon was moved forward, the Maryland 
troops with him, and left to skirmish with, amuse, and distract the 
enemy. Hays and Hoke and Smith with some artillery plunged into 
the woods. "Flank movement!" said the men. "It's fun to flank 
and it's hell to be flanked. That's the road to Romney over there." 

They came to the lower slopes of Little North Mountain, to the 
Pughtown road. On high ground to the south was a ruined orchard 
and a ruined house called Folk's Old House; while on high ground to 
the north lay a ruined cornfield, part of Mrs. Brieley's land. Both 
points overlooked the fortifications. Old Jube divided Jones's 
Artillery. Twelve pieces were posted in the ruined orchard, eight in 
the ruined cornfield. The Fifty-seventh North Carolina kept guard 
in the direction of the Pughtown road, and Hoke and Smith were 
drawn up in the rear of Hays. It was late in the day; intensely hot, 
and the men suffering greatly from thirst. The twenty pieces opened 
on the blue earthworks crowning the hOls in front. Harry Hays and 



102 CEASE FIRING 

the Louisianians moved forward, climbing the hill, through felled 
brushwood, to the assault. They took the height and six guns upon 
it. It overlooked and commanded the main works of the blue, and 
the grey brought up and trained the guns. But the hot night fell, 
and the soldiers lay on their arms till daybreak. When the dawn 
came, pink over the distant Blue Ridge, it was found that the Fed- 
erals had evacuated all fortifications on this side of Winchester. 
Before the earth was well lit, scouts brought news that they were 
in retreat upon the Martinsburg Pike. 

While on the thirteenth, Early advanced upon Winchester by the 
Valley Pike, Edward Johnson's division, Nounnan's cavalry going 
ahead, kept to the Front Royal and Winchester road. Two miles 
from the town they made a line of battle and began to skirmish. 
There was a blue battery upon the Millwood road, and to meet it 
Carpenter's guns were brought up. A dozen blue pieces upon this 
side of Winchester opened fire and for hours there went on a slow 
cannonade. On the morning of the fourteenth the division moved 
forward, the Stonewall leading, and renewed the skirmishing. In 
the afternoon they heard the roar of Early's guns. 

The Fifth Virginia was thrown forward, across the Millwood road 
to the low hills fronting the town. The blue held in some strength 
the scrubby crest of this ridge. The Fifth had sharp skirmishing. 
Behind it came two companies of the Sixty-fifth, turned a little to 
the left, and began sharpshooting from a screen of pine and oak. 

" Sergeant Maydew," said a captain, " take six men and go occupy 
that scrub-oak clump down there. Watch that ravine and pick 
them off if they come up it." 

Billy Maydew and the six fairly filled the tuft of bushes halfway 
down the hill. "Jest as snug as a bug in a rug!" 

"They'll get it hot if they come up that gully! It's a beautiful — 
■what did Steve use to call it ? — 'avalanche'!" 

"I kind of miss Steve. He had his uses. He'd keep up even a 
yaller dog's self-esteem. Even a turkey-buzzard could say, 'I am 
better than thou.' Every time I got down in the mouth and began 
to think of my sins I just looked at Steve and felt all right." 

"Reckon the army '11 ever get him again ? Reckon his sore foot '11 
ever get well ? " 

"He'd better not come back to the Sixty-fifth," said Sergeant 



THE STONEWALL 103 

Billy Maydew. He spoke with slow emphasis. "The day Steve 
Dagg comes back to the Sixty-fifth Billy Maydew air goin' to be 
marched to the guardhouse for killing a polecat." 

The six smiled, smiled with grimness. "Ef you do it, Sergeant, 
reckon the Sixty-fifth, from the colonel down, '11 appear for you and 
swear you did a public service!" 

Dave Maydew moved his head aside, then softly raised his rifle. 
The others did likewise. There was a pause so utter that they heard 
each other's breathing and the dry Zrrrr / of a distant grasshopper. 

Dave lowered the rifle. "I see now! 'Twa'n't nothing but a 
squirrel." 

"Reckon 't won't do to shoot him ? Squirrel stew — " 

"Don't you dar!" said Billy. "There air to be no firing out of 
this oak clump ex-cept upon tihe enemy." 

The skirmish line of the Fifth swept past them, driving the blue. 
The fighting was now nearer town; they knew by the slight change 
in sovmd that there were houses and stone walls. The afternoon 
wore on, ^-hot, hot in the clump of bushes! Litter bearers came 
by, carrying a wounded officer. " Colonel of the Fifth — Colonel 
Williams. They came against our right! They've got ten of our 
men. But then did n't we drive them!" 

Litter and bearers and escort went on. "Ain't anybody, less'n 
it's a crittur with fur, comin' up that ravine!" 

"An old mooley cow might come up." 

" Where 'd she come from ? They're all slaughtered and eaten. 
Nothing 's left of anything." 

"That's right! Egypt and the locusts — " 

"Lieutenant Coffin's signalling to rejoin. Reckon Sixty-fifth's 
going on, too!" 

Forwardl March ! 

Just before night the general commanding sent an order to Ed- 
ward Johnson. "Move with three brigades by right flank to the 
Martinsburg Turnpike at a point above Winchester. If enemy 
evacuates, intercept his retreat. If he does not, attack him in his 
fortffications from that direction." Johnson started at once with 
Steuart's and NichoUs's brigades, and Dement's, Raines's, and 
Carpenter's batteries, Snowden Andrews commanding. Their way 
lay across country on a dark night, by the Jordan Springs road. 



I04 CEASE FIRING 

The objective was Stephenson's, several miles above Winchester, 
where a railroad cut hidden by heavy woods almost touched the 
Martinsburg Pike. Off marched Steuart and NichoUs and the 
artillery. The Stonewall Brigade, nearest to the enemy, was ordered 
to advance skirmishers to conceal the movement, and then to follow 
to Stephenson's. There was some delay in the receipt of the order. 
The Stonewall advanced its skirmishers, ascertained on this side the 
position of the enemy, but did not till midnight take the road by 
which the two brigades had gone. 

It was a pitch black night after a hot and harassing day. The 
"foot cavalry" marched as Stonewall Jackson had taught it to 
march, but all country and all roads were now difficult, scarred, 
trenched, broken, and torn by war. This was like a dream road, 
barred, every rood, by dream obstacles. The Sixty-fifth sighed. It 
was too tired to make any other demonstration. In the hot, close 
night it was damp with perspiration. The road was deeply rutted 
and the drying mud had a knife-like edge. The shoes of the Sixty- 
fifth were so full of holes! The bruise from the chance stone, the cut 
of the dried mud helped at least in keeping the regiment awake. 
The Sixty-fifth's eyes were full of sleep: it would have loved — it 
would have loved to drop down in the darkness and float away — 
float away to Botetourt and Rockbridge and Bedford . . . float 
away — float away, just into nothingness! 

Behind the Stonewall the sky began, very faintly, to pale. The 
native of the country who was guiding spoke briefly. "We're near 
the pike. Stephenson's not far on the other side." Down the dark 
line, shadows in the half light, rang an order like a ghostly echo. 
"Press forward, men! Press forward!" The "foot cavalry" made a 
sound in its throat, then did its best. 

The east grew primrose, the rolling country took form. It was 
now a haggard country, seamed, burned over, and ruined, differing 
enough from what it once had been. There came a gleam of the 
Valley Pike, then with suddenness a heavy sound of firing. " They 're 
attacking! They're attacking!" said the Stonewall. "Hurry up 
there ! — hurry up — Double-quick 1 " 

So thick was the fog that it was difficult to distinguish at any 
distance shape or feature. A mounted man appeared before the 
head of the column, all grey in grey mist. "It's Captain Douglas, 



THE STONEWALL 105 

General, from General Johnson! The enemy's evacuating Winches- 
ter, We're holding the railroad cut over there, but they're in 
strength and threaten to flank us! Ammunition's almost out. 
Please come on as fast as you can!" 

The Stonewall felt the Valley Pike beneath its feet. Through the 
fog, a little to the west of the road, they saw a body of troops moving 
rapidly. In the enveloping mist the colour could not be told. "Grey, 
aren't they? — Can you see the flag — ?" "No, but I think 
they're ours — Steuart or Nicholls ..." "They're not Steuart 
and they are no.t Nicholls," said Thunder Run. "They're blue." 

"It's the Yankee flanking body! . . . Fire /" 

The dew-drenched hills and misty woods echoed the volley. Itwas 
answered by the blue, but somewhat scatteringly. The blue were in 
retreat, evacuating Winchester, moving toward the Potomac. They 
were willing to attack the grey regiments known to be holding the 
railroad cut, but a counter-attack upon their ovra rear and flank had 
not entered into their calculations. In the fog and in the smoke it 
could not be told whether it was one grey brigade or two or four. 
Soldiers, grey or blue, might be stanch enough, but in this, as in all 
wars, the cry, "We're flanked!" stirred up panic. The constitution- 
ally timid, in either uniform, were always expecting to be flanked. 
They often cried wolf where there was no wolf. This morning certain 
of the blue cried it lustily. And here, indeed, was the wolf, grey, 
gaimt, and yelling! The blue, bent on flanking the two brigades 
and the artillery in and around the railroad cut, found themselves, 
in tmm, flanked by the Stonewall Brigade. They were between 
Scylla and Charybdis, and they broke. There was a wood. They 
streamed toward it, and the Stonewall came, yelling, on their tracks. 
At the same moment at the railroad cut, Nicholls's Louisiana regi- 
ments, Dement's and Raines's and Carpenter's guns, came into 
touch with and routed the blue cavalry and infantry moving to the 
left. The cavalry — most of it — escaped, Milroy on a white horse 
with them. The infantry were taken prisoner. From the centre, 
where it, too, was victor, rose the jubilant yell of Steuart's brigade. 

The Stonewall reached the rim of the wood. Itwas filled with 
purple, early light and with the forms of hurrying men. The 
charging line raised its muskets; the Stonewall's finger was on the 
trigger, Down an aisle of trees showed a white square, raised and 



io6 CEASE FIRING 

shaken to and fro. Out of the violet light came a voice. "Don't 
fire! We surrender!" 

Steuart and Nicholls and the Stonewall and the artillery took, 
above Winchester, twenty-three hundred prisoners with arms and 
equipments, one himdred and seventy-five horses, and eleven stands 
of colours. Back in Winchester and the surrounding fortifications 
there fell into Early's hands another thousand men in blue, other 
horses, twenty-five pieces of artillery, ammunition, and three hun- 
dred loaded wagons and stores. The remainder of Milroy's com- 
mand, evacuating the town early in the night, had passed the dan- 
ger-point on the Martinsburg Pike in safety. Now it was hurrying 
toward the Potomac, after it Jenkins's cavalry. 

" Dear Dick Ewell " with his crutches, Jubal Early with his eccen- 
tricity, his profanity, his rough tongue, his large ability, and heroic 
devotion to the cause he served, behind them Hays and Gordon and 
Hoke and Smith, and all the exultant grey officers, and all the exult- 
ant grey men passed in the strengthening sunlight through happy 
Winchester. It was a scarred Winchester, a Winchester worn of 
raiment and thin of cheek, a Winchester that had wept of nights 
and in the daytime had watched, watched ! Sister Anne, Sister 
Anne, what do you see? This June morning Winchester was 
happy beyond words. 

Out on the Martinsburg Pike, Ewell and Early met Edward 
Johnson and his brigadiers. "Rodes is at Martinsburg. His courier 
got to us across country. He's taken the stores at Berryville and 
now at Martinsburg, — five pieces of artillery, two hundred prisoners, 
six thousand bushels of grain. The enemy's making for the river, 
Jenkins behind them. They'll cross at Williamsport. I've sent an 
order to General Rodes to press on to the Potomac. We'll rest the 
men for two hours and then we'll follow." 

The next day, the fifteenth of June, Rodes crossed to Williams- 
port in Maryland, Jenkins going forward to Chambersburg. Jubal 
Early with his division took the Shepherdstown road, threaten- 
ing, from that vicinity. Harper's Ferry. Edward Johnson and his 
division crossed at Shepherdstown and encamped near the field of 
Sharpsburg. 

On the fifteenth, Longstreet and the First Corps left Culpeper,and 
marched along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge toward Ashby's 



THE STONEWALL 107 

Gap. At the same time A. P. Hill and the Third Corps took the road 
for the Valley already traversed by Ewell and the Second. Stuart 
and the cavalry moved to cover Longstreet's front. Fighting Joe 
Hooker had left the Rappahannock, but he yet hovered in Virginia, 
on the south side of the Potomac. 

June seventeenth, June nineteenth, June twenty-first saw the 
second tilt of this month between Pleasanton and Stuart, the running 
cavalry fight through the Loudoun Valley, between the spurs of the 
Bull Run Mountains, by Middleburg and the little town of Aldie. 
The tournament was a brilliant one, with charge and counter-charge, 
ambuscade, surprise, wheelings here and wheelings there, pourings 
from dark mountain passes, thundering dashes through villages 
quivering with excitement, fighting from the saddle, fighting dis- 
mounted, incursions of blue infantry and artillery, hairbreadth 
escapes, clank and din and roll of drum, dust cloud and smoke 
cloud, mad passage of red-nostrilled, riderless horses, appeal of 
trumpet, rally and charge. It was a three-days' fight to stir for many 
a year to come the blood of listening youth, but it was not a fortun- 
ate fight — not for the grey South! The honours of the joust itself 
were evenly enough divided. Stuart lost five hundred men, Pleasan- 
ton eight hundred. But before the trumpets rang Haiti the blue 
horsemen pushed the grey horsemen across the Loudoun Valley from 
Bull Rim Mountains to Blue Ridge. In itself the position was well 
enough. Stuart, jocund as a summer morning, extricated with skill 
brigade after brigade, plunged with them into the dark passes, and, 
the fight drawn, presently marched on to the Potomac. But Pleasan- 
ton's patrols, winding upward, came out upon the crest of Blue 
Ridge. Here they reined in their horses and gazed, open-mouthed. 
Far below, travelling westward, travelling northward were troops 
on the roads of the great Valley — troops and troops and troops; 
infantry, artillery, cavalry, wagon trains and wagon trains. The 
vedettes stared. "The Confederacy's moving north! The Confed- 
eracy's moving north! " They turned their horses and went at speed 
back to Pleasanton. Pleasanton sent at speed to Fighting Joe 
Hooker. Hooker at once pushed north to the Potomac, which he 
crossed, on the twenty-fifth, at Edwards's Ferry. 



CHAPTER X 

THE BULLETIN 

MISS Lucy opened the paper with trembling fingers. "'A 
great cavalry fight at Brandy Station! General Lee's tele- 
gram. Killed and wounded. ' " Her three nieces came close 
to her. " It 's not a long bulletin .... Thank God, there 's no Gary ! " 

She brushed her hand across her eyes, and read on. "We have 
few particulars as yet. The fighting was severe and lasted all day. 
The loss on both sides is heavy. Our loss in oflScers was, as usual, 
very considerable. Among those killed we have heard the names of 
Colonel Hampton, brother of General Wade Hampton. Colonel 
John S. Green, of Rappahannock County, and Colonel Williams, 
of the Eighteenth North Carolina. The latter was married only one 
week ago. General W. H. F. Lee, son of General Lee, was shot 
through the thigh. Colonel Butler, of South Carolina, is reported 
to have lost a leg. From the meagre accounts we already have we 
are led to conclude that the fight of Tuesday was one of the heavi- 
est cavalry battles that has occurred during the war, and perhaps 
the severest ever fought in this country." 

Molly drew a long breath. "Let's turn the sheet, Aunt Lucy, and 
look for Vicksburg." 

"A moment!" said Judith. "I saw the word 'artillery.' What 
does it say about the horse artillery ? " 

"Just that it made a brilliant fight. A few casualties — there are 
the names." 

Judith bent over and read. "You always want to know about 
the horse artillery," said Molly. "I want to know about everybody, 
too, but until you 've heard about the artillery your eyes are wide 
and startled as a fawn's. Is there soniebody whom you like — " 

"Don't, Molly!" spoke Miss Lucy. "Don't we all want to know 
about every arm ? God knows, it is n't just our kith and kin for 
whom we ache!" 

"Of course not!" said Molly. "I just wanted to know — " 



THE BULLETIN 109 

Judith looked up, steady-eyed again. "So did I, Molly! I just 
wanted to know. The paper says it was a brilliant fight, and every- 
body did well — those who've ridden on, and those who are lying 
on the leaves in the woods. And it gives the names of those who are 
lying there, and we don't know them — only that they are names of 
our brothers. Vicksburg, read about Vicksburg, Aunt Lucy!" 

Miss Lucy read. "We have received the Jackson Mississippian as 
late aF the twenty-seventh, since when there has been no reliable in- 
formation from the besieged city. We have, however, from prison- 
ers, Northern papers as late as June the first. We quote from them. 

"'Washington, June first. Midnight. Up to one o'clock to-night no 
additional intelligence had been received from General Grant's army 
later than the previous dispatches of the twenty-eighth, when it was stated 
that Grant's forces were progressing as favourably as could be expected, 
and Grant had no fears of the result. ' " 

"Well, I hope that he may yet acquire them," said Unity. 

" ' Chicago, June first. A special dispatch to the Times dated, "Head- 
quarters in the Field. Near Vicksburg. May twenty-third," says, "But 
little has been efected during the last thirty-six hours. Over a hundred 
pieces of field artillery and several siege guns rained shot and shell on 
the rebels' works yesterday. The mortar fleet took position behind De 
Soto Point and bombarded the city during the entire day." ' " 

"Oh," cried Molly. "Oh!" 

"'On the right General Sherman has pushed Steele's division squarely 
to the foot of the parapets. Our men lay in a ditch and on the slope of a 
parapet, inside one of the principal forts, unable to take it by storm, but 
determined not to retire. The Federal and Rebel soldiers are not twenty- 
five feet apart, but both are powerless to inflict much harm. Each 
watches the other and dozens of muskets are fired as soon as a soldier 
exposes himself above the works on either side — '" 

"Oh, I hope that Edward thinks of Desiree and all of us!" 

"If there's need to expose himself he will do it — and Desiree 
and none of us would say, 'Think of us!' — Go on, Aunt Lucy." 

"'Nearly the same condition of things exists in McPherson's front, 
and his sharpshooters prevent the working of the enemy's pieces in one or 
two forts. A charge was made yesterday {Friday) morning on one of 
them by Stephenson's brigade, but was repulsed. Two companies of one 
brigade got inside, but most of them were captured. The forts are all 



no CEASE FIRING 

filled with infantry. Our artillery has dismounted a few guns and dam- 
aged the works in some places, but they are still strong — '" 

"0 may they stay so!" 
~ " ' General Joe Johnston is reported to be near the Big Black River in 
our rear, with reinforcements for the besieged army. General Grant 
can detail men enough for the operations here to keep Johnston in 
check:" 

"Oh, always their many, many troops!" 

"'General McClernand was hard pressed on the left yesterday, and 
sent for reinforcements. General Quinby's division went to his assistance 
at four o'clock. The contest continued until one of our flags was planted 
at the foot of the earthworks on the outside of a rebel fort, and kept there 
for several hours, but the fort was not taken.' " 

"Thank God!" 

"' McClernand' s loss yesterday is estimated at one thousand killed 
and wounded. The fighting grows more desperate each day. The trans- 
ports are now bringing supplies to within three miles of oUr right.' " 

The group on the Greenwood porch kept silence, then "What 
from Tennessee ? " 

"'A cavalry fight at Franklin. Infantry not engaged. A general 
battle is, however, considered imminent.'" 

Molly put her head down in Judith's lap and began to cry. "Oh, 
I want to see father! Oh, I want to see father! Oh, I miss him so!" 

Unity knit very fast. Miss Lucy sat, the paper fallen beside her, 
her fine, dark eyes on the distant mountains. She saw the old, 
peaceful, early-century years again, and her brothers and herself, 
children again, playing in the garden at Fontenoy, playing in the 
garden here at Greenwood, going into town in the great old coach, 
watching Mr. Jefferson pass and Mr. Madison. She saw her 
brilliant girlhood set still in so shining, so peaceful a world! . . . 
The old White and her ball-gowns, and the roses and serenading. . . . 
The leisurely progresses, too, from great house to great house, and 
all in a golden, tranquil world. She saw her beautiful father and 
mother and a certain lover whom she had had, and her brothers 
wonderful and gallant. And now the first three were dead, and 
long dead, and Warwick was with Lee at Culpeper, and Fau- 
quier, yesterday in "the severest cavalry battle yet fought on 
this continent, and Warwick's son, Edward, fighting in a city 



THE BULLETIN in 

besieged! Everywhere kinsmen and friends, fighting! And the 
gaunt and ruined country, the burning houses and the turned- 
out fields, the growing hunger, want no longer skulking, but walking 
all the highroads, care and wounds and sickness, a chill at all hearts 
and a lessening of the svmlight! "I have lived out of a gold world 
into an iron one," thought Miss Lucy. 

The old Greenwood carriage came round to the door. Judith 
kissed Molly and rose. Unity with her. It was their day at the hos- 
pital. Isham took them into town, Isham thin and sorrowful, driv- 
ing the old farm-horses, muttering and mumbling of old times and 
new. The day was hard at the hospital, though not so hard as there 
had been days. Soldiers from the Wilderness still choked the rooms, 
and there was siclaiess, sickness, sickness! — and so httle with 
which to cope with sickness. But it was not so crowded as it had 
been, nor so desperate. Many had died, and many had grown well 
enough to go away, and many were convalescent. There were only 
fifty or so very bad. The two young women, straight and steady, 
bright and tender, came into a long ward like twin shafts of sun- 
light. 

The ward wanted all the news about Brandy Station it could get, 
and all the news about Port Hudson and Vicksburg. Cavalry in the 
ward got into an argument with Artillery, and Infantry had to call 
the nurses to smooth things down. A man whose arm had been torn 
from the socket fell to crying softly because there was a piece of 
shell, he said, between the fingers and he could not get it out. 

"' Nerve ends ? ' — Yes, Doctor, maybe so. . . . Then, don't you 
reckon the nerve ends in my arm out there in the Wilderness are 
feeling for my shoulder ? Oh, I feel them feeling for it!" 

Down the line was a jolly fellow and he sang very loudly — 

"Yankee Doodle had a mind 

To whip the Southern traitors, 
Because they did n't choose to live 

On codfish and potatoes! 
Yankee Doodle, doodle-doo, 
Yankee Doodle dandy — " 

Some of the soldiers from the Wilderness, falling wounded in the 
brush which was set on fire, had been badly burned before their 
comrades could draw them forth. One of these now, lying wrapped 



112 CEASE FIRING 

like a mummy in oil-soaked cotton, was begging pitifully for mor- 
phia — and there was no morphia to give. 

"I come from old Manassas with a pocket full of fun; 
I killed forty Yankees with a single-barrelled gun — " 

Forenoon, afternoon passed. The nurses dressed and bandaged 
wounds, bathed and lifted, gave the scanty dole of medicines, 
brought and held the bowls of broth, aired the wards, straightened 
the beds, told the news, filled the pipes, read and wrote the home 
letters, took from dying lips the home messages, closed the eyes of 
the dead, composed the limbs, saw the body carried out to where the 
pine coflSn waited, turned back with cheer to the ward, dealt the 
cards for the convalescent, picked up the fallen checker-piece, 
laughed at all jokes, helped sick and weary Life over many a hard 
place in the road, saved it many a jolt. 

At six o'clock, the two from Greenwood left the hospital. Out- 
side they saw, on the other side of the street, a small crowd gathering 
about a bulletin board. They went across as folk always went across 
when there was seen to be a bulletin. The crowd was largely com- 
posed of country people, old men, women, and boys. It parted be- 
fore the ladies from Greenwood and the two came close to the board, 
A boy, standing on a great stone beneath, alternately mastered, 
somewhat slowly, the writing, then, facing around, delivered it in a 
high young voice to the crowd. 

A farmer, bent and old, touched Judith's sleeve. "Miss Judith 
Gary, you read it to us. I could do it spryer than Tom there, but my 
eyes are mighty bad." 

"I don't mind," said Tom. "They've got so many words that 
were n't in the reading-books! You do it. Miss Judith." 

Judith stepped upon the stone. The board held an account of the 
battle of Brandy Station, later and fuller than that in the morning 
paper. She read first — it was always read first — the names of 
the killed and wounded. It appeared that this crowd had in them 
only a general interest. There were murmurs respectful and pit3dng, 
but no sudden sharp cry from a woman, no groan from a man. 

"Further particulars of the fight," read Judith. "The enemy 
attacked at daybreak. They had with them artillery with which 
they proceeded furiously to shell General Stuart's headquarters. 



THE BULLETIN 113 

The cavalry fighting was desperate and the loss on both sides heavy. 
We had only cavalry and the artillery in action, the enemy having 
retreated before our infantry arrived. The fight lasted all day and 
was conducted with extreme gallantry. Many individual acts of 
heroism occurred both among oflScers and men. The horse artillery 
gathered fresh laurels. The spirit of Pelham stays with it. A gunner 
named Deaderick — 

" — A gunner named Deaderick, a strongly built man, held at bay 
a dozen of the enemy who would have laid hands upon his gun which 
had been dismounted by a shell striking the wheel. Almost singly 
he kept the rush back until his comrades could replace the gun, 
train, and serve it, when the attack was completely repulsed and 
the gun saved — " 

Judith finished reading. The crowd thanked her. She stepped 
from the great stone and passed with Unity to where the carriage 
waited. Isham touched the old farm-horses; they passed out of the 
town into the June country bathed in sunset light. 

For a while there was silence, then, "Judith," said Unity, "I am a 
talkative wretch, I know, but I can be silent as the grave when I 
want to be! Where is Richard ? Is he in the horse artillery ? " 

"Yes." 

"I have never seen you when I did not think you beautiful. But 
back there, standing on that stone, of a sudden you were most beau- 
tiful. It was like a star blazing out, a star with a voice, and some- 
thing splendid in that, too. Judith, is he that gunner you were read- 
ing about ? " 

"Yes — oh, yes!" 

"Well, you don't often cry," said Unity, crying herself. "Cry it 
out, my dear, cry it out. We have such splendid things nowadays 
to cry for ! " .J 

Judith dried her tears. "No, I don't often cry. . . . Let it rest, 
Unity, between us, silent, silent — " 

That night, at Greenwood, she opened wide the windows of her 
room, till the moonlight flooded all the floor. She sat in the window 
seat, in the heart of the silver radiance, her hands clasped upon her 
knees, her head thrown back against the wood. Before her lay the 
silver hills; up to her came the breath of the garden lilies. She sat 
with wide, imseeing eyes; the mind exercising its own vision. It 



114 CEASE FIRING 

gazed upon the bivouac of the horse artillery; it saw the two days 
ago battle; and it saw to-morrow's march. It saw the moving guns, 
and heard the rumbling of them; saw the column of horse and heard 
the tread, marched side by side with that gunner of the horse artil- 
lery. Mists arose and blurred. There was a transition. Judith's 
mind left the South. It travelled under Northern skies; it sought 
out and entered Northern prisons. It saw Maury Stafford; saw him 
walking, walking, a stockaded yard, or standing, standing, before a 
barred window, looking out, looking up to the stars that shone 
over Virginia. . . . The prisons, the prisons. North and South, the 
prisons! Judith fell to shuddering. "O God — God! Even our 
enemy — show him mercy!" 

Off in the distance a whip-poor-will was calling. The sound was 
ineffably mournful; the whole night saddened and saddened. The 
odour of the lilies laid waxen fingers upon the heart. The high, bare 
sky was worse than a vault hung with clouds. The light wind came 
like the sigh of an overladen heart. Judith moved, sank forward on 
the window seat, and wept. 



CHAPTER XI 

PRISON X 

THE stockade enclosed a half-acre of bare earth, trodden hard. 
The prison was a huge old brick building with a few narrow, 
grated windows. It had been built to store the inanimate, 
and now it was crowded with the animate. The inanimate made 
few demands save those of space and security. The animate might 
demand, but they did not receive. They had space — after all, each 
prisoner could move a very little way without jostling another pris- 
oner — and they were kept securely. The gratings were thick, the 
guards were many, the stockade was high, and there was a Dead 
Line. As for other requests, for light and air and an approach to 
sanitation, for a little privacy, for less musty food and more of it, 
for better water, for utensils and bedding — the inanimate had 
made no such requests, and the animate requested in vain. What 
had been good enough for good Northern manufactured goods was 
good enough for Southern rebels. Everybody knew that Northern 
prisoners were starving, dying in Southern prisons. '"Exchange, 
then!' Well, I kind of wish myself that we'd exchange." 

There were three floors in the prison, and a number of partitions 
had been driven across the large, echoing shell. Officers' quarters 
were the first floor, and oflScers' quarters were rudely divided into a 
hot, dark, evil-smelling central hall, and a number of hot, narrow, 
close, and poorly-lighted rooms in which to sleep and wake. Hall 
and rooms were hot because it was warm summer-time, and they 
were so crowded, and there was admitted so little air. In the winter- 
time they were cold, cold! The prisoners who had been here longest 
had tried both elements; in the winter-time they pined for summer 
and in the summer-time they longed for winter. This building was 
but one of several warehouses converted into places of storage for 
the animate. There were, in all, in this place, twelve hundred Con- 
federate oflScers and six thousand Confederate privates. 

Twilight was the worst time. Earlier there was all the sunshine 



ii6 CEASE FIRING 

that could enter the small windows, and once a day there was exer- 
cise in the small sunbaked yard. As soon as it was totally dark a few 
smoky lamps were lighted and for an hour there was "recreation" 
in the various central halls. But twilight — twilight was bad! It was 
the hopeless hour, the hour of home visions, the hour of longing, the 
hour of nostalgia. It was the hour when men could and did weep 
in shadowy places. The star that twinkled through the window 
mocked, and the breeze from the south mocked. The bats that 
wheeled above the prison yard were Despondency's imps. Melan- 
choly had free entrance; she could and did pass the sentries. Hope 
deferred was always there. At twilight all hearts sickened. 

With the smoky lamps came, on the part of most, — not of all, 
but of most, — a deliberate taking-up again of life, even of prison 
life. Heroism reentered the weary prison. Courage and cheerfulness 
took the stage, the first a grim and steadfast warrior, the last fals- 
etto enough at times, and then again suddenly, divinely genuine. 
At times there were brisk gaiety, unfeigned laughter, a quite rollick- 
ing joviality. Twilight was over — twilight was over for this 
time! 

Supper was over, too, — soon over! A small cake of meal, more or 
less musty, a bit of "salt horse, " — the meal was not prolonged. It 
was brought into the hall in a great kettle and sundry pans. The 
prisoners had each a tin plate, with an ancient knife and fork. There 
was no table; they sat on benches or old boxes, or tailor fashion on 
the floor. They had a way of pleasing their fancies with elaborate 
menus — like the Barmecide in the "Arabian Nights." Only the 
menus never, never materialized! To-night, in a mess of thirty, a 
colonel of A. P. Hill's, captured at Fredericksburg, laid out the 
table. "Mountain mutton, gentlemen, raised in Hampshire! Del- 
icately broiled, served with watercress. No man must take less than 
two helpings! Brook trout, likewise, speckled beauties, taken this 
afternoon! There was a pool and a waterfall and some birch trees, 
and I went in swimming. Light rolls, gentlemen, and wheat muffins, 
and, I think, waffles! Coffee, gentlemen, — don't cheer! — Mocha, 
with sugar. The urn full and plenty more in the kitchen. Something 
green, gentlemen, — lettuce, I think, with cucumber and onion 
sliced thin and a little oil and vinegar. — Don't cheer! This mess has 
all the early vegetables and all the garden fruit it needs, and is not 



PRISON X 117 

scorbutic! — Gentlemen, a dessert will follow — a little trifling jelly 
or cream, and I think a dish of raspberries." 

The "salt horse" was eaten, the thin cake of old, old meal, the 
small and watery potato apiece. The mess arose. " For what we 
have received may one day the enemy be thankful! Atnen!" 

It was a festal night. They had a prison paper — The Pen — 
issued once a week. Foolscap paper was at a premium as was pen 
and ink. Therefore there was but one copy. It was read on Monday 
night by the gathering in division such and such a number. Tuesday 
night it passed to another division and another social hour. Wednes- 
day night to another, and so on. The privates had their paper, too, 
and late in the week there were exchanges. This was Monday night 
and the hall of the editorial staff. 

The smoky lamps burned dim in the close and heated air. At 
times these officers were able to secure tobacco for those who 
smoked, but more often not. This present week it was not, and the 
hall missed this disinfectant. There were a few long benches, a 
dozen stools, some boxes and barrels. Those who could not find 
seats sat on the floor, or lounged against the darkened walls. They 
had a table beneath one of the lamps, and a space was kept clear for 
the performers of the evening. There was to be a debate and other 
features. 

The chairman of the evening arose. " Gentlemen, we will open 
as usual with Dixie — " 

"I wish I was in de land of cotton, 
Old times dar am not forgotten! 

Lool^ away, look away, look away, Dixie Land! 
In Dixie Land, whar I was bom in. 
Early on one frosty morning, 

Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land I 
Den I wish I was in Dixie, 

Hooray, hooray! 
In Dixie Land I'll take my stand, 
To live an' die in Dixie! 

Away, away, away down South in Dixie; 

Away, away, away down South in Dixie — " 

Two hundred men sang it loudly. Bearded, gaunt, unkempt, large- 
eyed, in unsoldierly rags, they stood and sang Dixie — sang it 
fiercely, with all their pent power, with all their wild longing. It 
rolled and echoed through the building; it seemed to beat with 



ii8 CEASE FIRING 

violence at the walls, so that it might get out beneath the stars. It 
died at last. The prisoners in Division 3 turned again to the chair- 
man. "Gentlemen, the editors of The Pen crave your indulgence. 
The latest news by grapevine and underground is just in! The 
presses are working overtime in order that presently it may be 
served to you hot — " 

"The War is over!" 

"We are to be exchanged!" 

"England has declared — " 

"We have met the enemy and he is ours!" 

"We have received a consignment of tobacco." 

"The rats have cried Hold, enough! A signal victory has been 
achieved — " 

"No; the bedbugs—" 

"The commandant has been called up higher." 

"Is — is it an exchange ?" 

The chairman put that hope out with prompt kindness. "No, 
no. Captain! I wish it were. That would be the next best thing to 
news of a big victory, would n't it! But, see, they approach! Way 
for the noble editors! Way for The Pen that has — ahem! — swal- 
lowed the sword!" 

The Junior Editor, having the biggest voice and being used to 
commanding Partisan Rangers, was the chosen reader. He stood 
forward. "Gentlemen, let me have your attention! — Can't that 
lamp be turned up ? — Thank you. Colonel! 

THE PEN 

Light {mental) and Liberty {To the Dead Line) 

Vol. I. No. 20. 

Prison X. June — , 1863 

IMPORTANT NEWS 

Received by Grapevine, and confirmed by Fresh Fish 

''General Lee is thought to be moving northward — " 

"Yaaaiht Yaaaaaihhhl Yaaaaihl" 

■"He has certainly left the Rappahannock. Ewell has been ob- 



PRISON X 119 

served moving toward the Valley, probably with the intention of 
falling on Milroy at Winchester — " 

' ' Yaaaikkhh ! Yaaaaaihhh I — " 

" — and crossing the Potomac at Williamsport. Longstreet and 
A. P. Hill are in motion — " 

"YaaaikI Old Pete! Yaaaih! A. P. HUl!" 

"If General Lee crosses the Potomac, surely all will be well. We 
trust in God that it's true." 

"Amen," said the prisoners. "Amen, amen!" 

The reader turned the page. 

"Underground and Fresh Fish alike confirm our assurance that 
Vicksburg is not fallen! There is a rumour that provisions are 
becoming exhausted and that in Vicksburg, too, rats are speared. 
The Editors of The Pen heartily wish that we might send a grape- 
vine to the beleaguered city, ' Nothing is, but only thinking makes 
it so.' Think of your rat in terms of grace and you will find him good 
as squirrel." 

"The above items exhaust the news of the outer world. The Pen 
turns to the world around which runs the Dead Line. Incense first 

to the Muses! Lieutenant Lamar, th Georgia, favours us as 

follows: — 

"Oh, were I a boy in Georgia, 
As now I am a man in Hell, 
I would haste to the old school-house 
With the ringing of the belli 

"Oh, were I a boy in Georgia 
As now I am a man in jail, 
To go to church on Sunday, 
Be sure I would not faill 

"Oh, were I a boy in Georgia, 
As now I dm a man in chains, 
I'd not take the eggs from the bird-nests, 
Nor apples from old man Haines I 

"Oh, were I a boy in Georgia, 
As now I am a man in quod, 
I'd be a better son to my mother, 
Ere she lay beneath the sod!" 

"In another vein Colonel Brown, th Kentucky, contrib- 
utes: — 



I20 CEASE FIRING 

Air. Within a mile of Edinboro' Town. 
" 'T was a mile within the Wilderness green, 
In the rosy time of the year; 
Artillery boomed and the fight was keen, 
And many men found their bier. 

There Marse Robert, grey and great, 
Struck Joe Hooker, sure as fate! 
The Yankee blenched and answering cried, 'No, no, it will not dol 
I cannot, cannot, winnot, winnot, munnot lose this battle tool' 

"Stonewall had a way of falling from the blue. 
From the blue and on the blue as well! 
Their right he crumpled up and many he slew, 
And came on their centre like — ! 

Stonewall Jackson, great and grey. 
Fought Joe Hooker on this day! 
Yet Hooker, fighting, frowned and cried, 'No, no, it will not dol 
I cannot, cannot, winnot, winnot, munnot lose this battle too!' 

"Stuart shook his feather and hummed a merry tune. 
Then swung the A. N. V. with might! 
He struck Joe Hooker the crown aboon. 
And put the blue army to flight! 

Oh, Jeb Stuart, blithe and gay. 
Beat Joe Hooker night and day! 
And Hooker, fleeing, no more frowned and cried, 'No, no, it will not do! 
I cannot, cannot, winnot, winnot, munnot lose this battle too!'" 

"We pass from the service of the Muses to our editorial of the day. 
Public Improvements and the Condition of Trade with a 
Glance at the Predicament of the Unemployed." 

The really able editorial was read at length. As it had the quality 
of being applicable as well as dogmatic, as indeed it accurately 
portrayed the conditions and beliefs of all present, it received 
full attention and unanimous applause. 

The reader bowed his thanks. " Gentlemen, in all our career, we 
have been actuated by one sole ambition, and that ambition, gentle- 
men, was to become without any reservation, the Voice of the 
People! To-night that ambition is realized. We see that we are it 
— and we thank you, gentlemen, — we thank you! We will now 
pass to the Standing Committees and their reports. On Finance; 
on Sick and Destitute; on State of the Church; on Public Education; 
on Cleanliness; on the Fine Arts; on Amusements — " 

After reports of committees came a page of advertisements. 

"A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE. — Bring your rips 



PRISON X 121 

and rents to Captains Carter and Davenport, Division lo. Entire 
satisfaction given. Charges moderate. 

"INSTRUCTION IN ORATORY, and PARLOUR ACCOM- 
PLISHMENTS. Reginald De Launay, Division 13. I was once on 
the stage. 

"INSTRUCTION ON THE BANJO. (First get your banjo.) 
John Paul, Lt. th Alabama, Division 24. 

"A FIRST-CLASS LAUNDRY. No pains spared, only soap. 
Patronize us. You will never regret it. Taylor and Nelson, North- 
west corner, Division 3, where you see the tub. No gentleman nowa- 
days wears starched linen. One dislikes, too, a glaring white. And 
nobody likes a world too smooth. Our charges are moderate. We 
are Old Reliable. 

"GUTTA-PERCHA RINGS, Ladies' Bracelets, Watch Chains, 
Walking-Sticks elaborately carved. Fancy Buttons. Just the 
things for mementoes of this summer-and-winter resort! Your 
lady-loves will prize them. Your grandchildren-to-be will treasure 
them. Call and look them over. Genuine bargains. Washington 
and Pinckney, Division 30, south side. Upper tier of bunks. 

"HAVE YOUR HAIR CUT. It needs it. Barbering of all kinds 
done with expedition and neatness. We will shave you. We will 
shampoo you. Our terms are the most reasonable north of Mason 
and Dixon. Call and see our stock of Arabian perfumes. We are 
experimenting upon a substitute for soap. Smith and Smith, 
Division 33. 

"COBBLE! COBBLE! COBBLE! Have your sole and uppers 
parted ? Do you need a patch ? Come and talk it over. We are 
amateurs, but we used to watch old Daddy Jim do it. We think we 
can help you. Our charges are not exorbitant. Porcher and Ravenel, 
Division 38. 

"CIRCULATING LIBRARY. We are happy to inform the 
public that through the generosity of recent arrivals we have become 
possessed of another copy of 'LesMiserables,' by Victor Hugo. We 
have also 'Macaria,' by Miss Evans, Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair,' 
and Virgil's '^Eneid.' At the closing of the meeting the chairman 
of the Library Committee will be happy to take names of appli- 
cants in order. 

"We pass to NOTICE OF DEATHS. We mourn the loss of 



122 CEASE FIRING 

Brigadier-General . This gallant gentleman and soldier 

passed away yesterday in the prison hospital. A kinsman, detained 

in this division, was allowed to be with him at the last. General 

asked that the twenty-third psalm be read, and when it was done he 
lay quiet for a while, then raised himself slightly in his bunk. ' God 
save the South ! ' he said, and died. Major , th South Caro- 
lina, is dead. Adjutant , th Tennessee, is dead. Captain 

, — :— th Virginia, is dead. Captain , th North Caro- 
lina, is dead. Lieutenant , th Virgmia Cavalry, is dead. 

Lieutenant , th Mississippi, is dead. We hear from the 

men's side that very many of our comrades in the ranks are dead. 
So be it! Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." 

There was a moment's pause in the reading. Resumed, The Pen 
took up the Continued Story, Instalment 5. 

The Continued Story did not deal with war and war's alarms. 
The Continued Story was a story of domestic bliss. It was in the 
quietest vein; true love not too much crossed, marriage bells, home, 
a child, Uttle details, a table set, flowers, robins singing, talk of a 
journey. Division 3, leaning forward, listened breathlessly. The 
instalment closed. "To be continued in our next." A sigh went 
through the hall. 

The hour was almost up. The debate that was scheduled to follow 
The Pen had to be shortened. Even so, it took place, and so inter- 
esting was it that various blue guards and oflScials, drawn by echoes 
as of Demosthenes, came into the hall and made part of the audience. 
"Woman: Her Place in Creation. Does it equal that of 
Man?" 

The negative, in this time and place and audience, received scant 
sympathy. In vain the collegian who had somewhat doubtfully 
undertaken it, piled Ossa on Pelion, Aristotle on St. Paul, Rousseau 
on Martin Luther. That woman-famished audience received quot- 
ation and argument in stony disapproval. The affirmative soared 
over Ossa without brushing a pinion. Amid applause from grey 
and blue alike, the affirmative, somewhere now among the stars, was 
declared to have won. 

The chairman of the evening rose. "Gentlemen, the hour is 
passed. May you rest well, and have pleasant dreams! To-morrow 
night the Musical Club will delight us. We extend to the gentlemen 



PRISON X I2J 

of the North whom I see among us a cordial invitation to honour us 
again. Good night — good night! " 

Division 3 streamed beneath the smoky lamps out of the dose 
and dark hall into the dark and dose rooms. In each of these were 
tiers of bunks, none too wide. Each boasted one grated window 
which let in a very little of the svmmier night. The doors clanged 
behind the entering men; outside in the hall and at all exits the 
sentries were posted. Within a few minutes the doors were opened 
again. "Rounds!" Officer in blue, men in blue, swinging lantern, 
vague breath of the outer worlds — the guardian group went through 
each room, examining keenly the tiers of bunks each with its shad- 
owy reclining or sitting inmate, lifting the lantern to peer into cor- 
ners, shaking the window bars to see that there had been no filing. 
Ten minutes, and with or without a gruff "good night!" rounds 
were over. 

A half hour passed, an hour passed. It was a dark night and 
breathless. The stars that might be seen through the window, above 
the stockade, showed like white-hot metal points stuck through a 
heavy pall. Without the door of a room in which were packed 
twenty officers sounded, passing, the tread of the sentry. The sound 
died down the hall. 

A man stepped lightly and quietly from his bunk. Another left 
his as quietly, — another, — another. Those in the upper tier 
swung themselves down, noiseless as cats. All twenty were out on the 
floor. Whatever of clothing had been laid aside was resumed. Two 
men took their places by the door, ear to the heavy panel. Two 
watched at the window. All movement was made with the precision 
of the drill-yard and in the quietude of the tomb. In the corner, near 
the window, was a bunk in which had slept and waked a lieutenant 
of nineteen, a light, thin, small-boned youngster. Now four men, 
bending over, lifted noiselessly the boards upon which the lieutenant 
had lain. Below, stretched smooth, stained and coloured like the 
flojbr, was a bit of tarpaulin, obtained after God knows what skilful 
manoeuvring! The men turned this back. Beneath gaped a ragged 
hole, a yard across, black and deep. Up came a colder air and an 
earthy smell. 

In this room Maury Stafford was the leader. With a whispered 
word he put his hands on the edge of the excavation and swung him- 



124 CEASE FIRING 

self down, dropping at last several feet to the floor of the tunnel. 
One by one the twenty followed, the four from door and window 
coming last. As best they could, these pulled the boards of the 
lieutenant's bunk in place over the entrance to that underground, 
which, with heart-stifling delays and dangers, they had digged. 
For months they had been digging — a hundred and odd men 
conspiring together, digging in the night-time, with infinite caution, 
with strange, inadequate tools, in darkness and silence and danger, a 
road to Freedom. 

From either side of them came a tapping sound, three taps, one 
tap, four taps, one tap. They made the return signal. " Trenck," 
said a low voice down the tunnel. "Latude," answered one of the 
twenty. "All right! " came back the voice; "Latude, lead the way." 

The men who replaced the boards had given a last backward look 
to the room and the window through which came the starlight. The 
slight and thin lieutenant was one of them. "I reckon even at home, 
in the four-poster in the best room, I '11 dream for a while that there 's 
a black, empty coal-mine below me! — Shhl — All right, sir." 

There was a column moving through the tunnel, the tunnel into 
which from the several conspiring rooms there were openings, all 
masked, all concealed and guarded, one by this means, one by that, 
but alike with the infinite sharpened ingenuity of trapped creatures. 
The disposal of the earth that was burrowed out — genius had 
gone to that, genius and a patience incredible. Inch by inch the way 
had opened. There has been the measuring, too, the calculation 
of distance. . . . They must dig upward and out at some point 
beyond the stockade — not too far beyond; they could not afford 
to dig forever. 

The tunnel was finished. To-night they were coming out, coming 
out somewhere beyond the stockade. There was a rugged gully, 
they knew, and then at a little distance, the river — the river that, 
on the other side, laved the Virginian shore. Let them but surprise, 
overpower whatever picket force might be stationed beyond the 
stockade, get to the river. . . . Trust them to swim the river! 

They crept — a hundred and odd men — through the stifling 
passage. They could not stand upright. The sweat drenched their 
bodies, their hands were wet against the walls. The tunnel that 
they had been digging for ages had never appeared a short one; to- 



PRISON X 125 

night it seemed to stretch across infinity. At last they reached the 
end, the upward slope and then the round chamber that they had 
made beyond — beyond the stockade! The head of the line had a 
bit of candle, hoarded against this moment. The spurt of the match 
caused a start throughout the stretched line, the pale flicker of the 
candle showed drawn faces. 

They had two makeshift picks. How the iron had been obtained 
and the handles fashioned would make a long story. There had been 
a sifting of the stronger men to the front; now two of these, standing 
in the round chamber, raised and swung the picks and attacked the 
tunnel's roof. Earth fell with a hollow sound. The hearts of that 
company beat in response. They were all bowed in the tunnel; their 
faces gleamed with sweat; their gleaming hands trembled where they 
pressed them against the walls. The blows of the picks made music, 
music that agonized while it charmed. They saw the sky and the 
open coimtry and the river mirroring the stars. They had not a 
firearm nor a sword among them, but a few had pocket-knives, and 
others jagged bits of sheet-iron, billets of wood, even sharpened 
stones. Now and then the line whispered, but it never spoke aloud. 
The two at the end of the tunnel gave the picks to another two; the 
iron swung, the earth fell. To the strained hearing of all it fell ever 
with a more hollow and thunderous sound. Moreover, the sense of 
space changed, and time likewise. They knew this very long and 
dark passage so well ; every inch of it was familiar; had they not been 
digging it since the dawn of time? To-night it was luridly strange. 
Legions of drums beat in the brain, and there were flashes of colour 
before the eyes. The line was caught in a strange vein of Becoming, 
and what would Become no man knew. The hundred and odd hoped 
for the best, but surely all things were becoming portentous. 

The two in the rotmd chamber changed again — Maury Stafford 
now stood there with another. Rhythmically the picks struck the 
roof, rhythmically the earth fell. Since Sharpsburg of what had not 
Maury Stafford thought? The mind had tried to become and remain 
stoical, the mind had sickened, the mind had recovered; it had 
known the depths and the middle spaces and the blank wind-swept 
heights; the depths again, the middle spaces, the heights, and every 
point between. There had been changes in its structure. In its 
legions of warring elements some, long dominant, had taken a lower 



126 CEASE FIRING 

place; others were making good their claims to the thrones. He had 
been well-nigh a year in prison, and a year in prison counted five of 
earth. He had seen the minds of others dulled; all things sent to 
sleep except suffering and useless anger, or suffering and useless 
despondency. He, too, had known dulness for a time, but it had 
passed. There came in its place a certain lucidity, a certain hard- 
ness, and at the same time a widening. The prison bars held the 
physical man, but the wings of the inner man had broadened and 
they beat at vaster walls. 

The picks struck, the earth fell. Behind him he heard the breath- 
ing of the men. He, too, was dizzy from exertion, from the air of the 
tunnel. As he worked he was saying over to himself, over and over, 
old lines that came into his head — 

"This ae night, this ae night, 
Every night and all. 
Fire and sleet and candlelight 
And Christ receive thy soul, — " 

The oflBcer working with him uttered a low exclamation. " Look ! " 

Stafford looked, then turned his head. "Be ready, all of you! 
We're nearly through." 

The earth fell, the rift widened. Down into the breathless timnel, 
like wine to the exhausted, came a gust of night air. The long queue 
of waiting men quivered. The hole in the roof widened. . . . 
The workers were now working very cautiously, very quietly. Even 
in the dead of the night, even well beyond the stockade, even, as 
they hoped, in the bottom of the gully running down to the river, 
there might be wakeful ears. The workers made the least possible 
noise, the hundred and odd waiting prisoners made none at all. 
Crouched in silence they breathed the night air and the sweat dried 
upon them. . . . The hole in the roof became large enough to let 
a man through. Footholds had already been made along the side 
of the tunnel. The workers laid down their picks, mounted, and 
tried their weight upon the edges of the opening. The earth held. 
"Ready!" breathed Stafford. "McCarthy, you go first." 

McCarthy drew himself up and out of the tunnel. " Now, Lamar ! " 
Lamar followed. The queue moved a step forward. The third man 
had his hands on the edge of the hole. McCarthy's form appeared 
above, blocking the starlight, McCarthy's face down bent, waxen 



PRISON X I ay 

as the almost bumed-out taper which threw against it a little 
quivering light. McCarthy's whisper came down. "0 my God, my 
God! We turned and dug obliquely. . . . We're still inside the 
stockade!" 

There sounded the discharge of a sentry's piece, followed by a 
hallooing and the noise of running feet. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE SIEGE 

EIGHT gunboats held the river in front of, above, and below the 
doomed town. Under the leafy Louisiana shore the blue 
placed seven mortars. These kept up a steady fire upon the 
city and the river defences. At intervals the gunboats engaged the 
lower batteries. There was an abandoned line of works which was 
seized upon by a cloud of blue sharpshooters. These began to pick 
off men at the grey guns, and traverses had to be built against them. 
The grey had in the river batteries thirty-one siege gims, and a few 
pieces of light artillery. Even of these they had eventually to spare 
guns for the land defences. 

At dawn of the twenty-seventh of May began the engagement in 
which the Cincinnati was sunk. She had fourteen guns, and she 
opened furiously upon the upper batteries while four gunboats 
handled the lower. But the upper batteries sunk her; she went down 
not far from the shore in water that did not quite cover her decks. 
Her loss was heavy, from the grey shells and from the grey sharp- 
shooters who picked off her men at the portholes. Night after night 
blue craft gathered around her, trying to take away the fourteen 
guns, but night after night the upper batteries drove them away. 
She stayed there, the Cincinnati, heavy and mournful in the smoke- 
shrouded river. And day after day, and week after week, the seven 
mortars and all the gunboats launched their thunders against the 
water batteries and the town beyond. 

Three fourths of a rough circle ran the landward defences. There 
were exterior ditches, eight and ten feet deep, with provision for the 
infantry, with embrasures and platforms for artillery. Before them 
were thrown abatis, palisades, entanglements of picket and tele- 
graph wire. The ground was all ridge and hollow; redan and redoubt 
and lunette occupied the commanding points, and between them 
ran the rifle-pits. There was much digging yet to be done, and few 
men and no great supply of entrenching tools with which to do it. 




SHARPSHOOTERS 



THE SIEGE 129 

Night after night fatigue parties were busy. Behind all the salients 
they made inner lines for time of need; they built traverses against 
enfilading fires. So fast did the blue sharpshooters pick off officers 
and men, as they passed from the works to the camps in the rear, 
that very soon the grey were forced to contrive covered ways. 
Through the hot nights laboured already wearied men. The five 
himdred picks and shovels were shared among the troops. Where 
they gave out, wooden shovels were contrived and bayonets were 
used as picks. In the night-time the damage of the day must be 
somehow repaired. The damage of each day was very great. 

The centre of the Confederate line, from the Jackson railroad to 
the Graveyard road, was held by Forney's division. General Martin 
Luther Smith held from the Graveyard road to the river on the 
north, and made the left. Carter L. Stevenson's division held from 
the railroad to the Warrenton road and the river south, and formed 
the right. Behind Forney lay in reserve Bowen with his Missourians 
and Waul's Texas Legion. Counting the three thousand and more 
in hospital, there were twenty-eight thousand men defending Vicks- 
burg. They were all needed. Thrice the number would have found 
work to do. 

Outside the Confederate line ran the Federal line of investment. 
At the beginning of the siege the two lines were some hundreds of 
yards apart; as the siege went on the blue drew nearer, nearer. They 
drew so near at last that, at night, the grey and blue pickets con- 
versed, so near that at places the several ramparts all but touched. 
Forty-three thousand had Grant at the formal opening of the siege; 
steadily as it progressed he brought across the river other thousands. 
By the middle of June he had seventy-five thousand, besides the 
fleet upon the river. Ninth Army Corps, Thirteenth Army Corps, 
Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth Army Corps, — Grant drew his 
forces and to spare around the town and its all too meagre defences, 
its one hundred and two guns and small store of ammunition and its 
twenty-eight thousand combatants, three thousand of whom were 
in hospital. Besides the guns of the fleet, there were now two hun- 
dred and twenty blue guns in position. They never lacked for am- 
mimition. Seven miles, from the river north of the town to the river 
south, ran the Confederate lines. Fifteen miles, from Haines's Bluff 
to Warrenton, enclosing the Confederate, ran the Federal lines. 



I30 CEASE FIRING 

Grant was strongly posted. He had wide, sheltered hollows in which 
to mass his men, and commanding ridge-tops on which to place his 
guns. His far-flung position was strong for offence, and equally 
strong, in case of an attack from without, for defence. All day and 
every day thundered the Federal artillery. All day and every day 
the grey lines and the grey town knew the rain of shells. Very early 
in the siege the blue prepared to mine. 

At Jackson, fifty miles to the east, was Joseph E. Johnston, slowly 
gathering troops. At the last and best he had only twenty-four 
thousand troops. Between him and the beleaguered place lay an 
army of seventy-five thousand men, strongly posted, and strong — 
where the grey were weakest — in artillery; with, also, a blue 
fleet in the background. At long intervals Pemberton got out a 
messenger to him; at long intervals one of his own got into 
Vicksburg. 

Within all these lines Vicksburg herself crouched and waited. 
AH her people who might dwelled now in caves. They came out in 
the night or during the infrequent silences of the day and returned 
to the houses that were not injured. They grew careless about ex- 
posure, or rather they grew fatalistic after the manner of courageous, 
besieged places. They passed through the streets even when the 
shells were raining, or they wandered out toward the lines, or they 
sat under some already splintered tree and counted the gunboats 
on the dusky river. Courage stayed with them, and even at times 
gaiety, though she had a hectic cheek. 

On the twenty-second of May the town rocked under the first as- 
sault. Four ironclads and a wooden gunboat — thirty-two guns — 
opened upon the river batteries. From the land the artillery began 
as well, a great force of artillery sending shot and shell against the 
Confederate centre and right and into the town beyond. At one 
o'clock came the first of three Federal charges, directed against 
the line of Stephen D. Lee. The assault was desperate, the repulse 
as determined. The grey guns did not spare to-day grape and canis- 
ter. The grey musketry poured from the trenches volley after volley 
in the face of the foe. A blue storming party, Illinois and Ohio and 
Missouri, charged a redoubt in which the cannon had made a breach. 
They crossed the ditch, they mounted the earthen wall, they fixed 
two flags upon the parapet. They hurrahed in triumph. This angle 



THE SIEGE 131 

was uncommanded by any grey work. The flags could be dislodged 
only by a countercharge and hand-to-hand fighting. Volunteers 
were called for, and there went a band of Waul's Texans, led by 
Colonel Pettus of the Twentieth Alabama. The blue artillery opened 
upon them; there fell a fearful hail. The bullets of the sharpshooters, 
too, came against them like bees armed each with a mortal sting. 
The grey rushed on. They dislodged the blue from the fort, then 
fought them in the ditch below. They used shells like hand grenades, 
flinging them from the rampart. They took the flags, waved them 
on high, then sent them back to their colonel, who sent them to 
Stephen Lee. They beat back the blue storming party. . . . The 
grey beat back the whole wide, three blue charges, hurled them back 
upon their lines like torn waves from an iron coast. When dusk 
came and sullenly the firing ceased, the Federal dead and wounded 
lay thick, thick, up and down before the Confederate line, by ditch 
and wall, — perhaps two thousand dead and woimded. In the 
night-time some were taken away, but very, very many were left. 
The weather was deadly hot. 

Dead and woimded lay there so long that it became frightful. The 
grey did not love the crying on their front, the gasping voices, the 
faint, dry. Water! Water! Water! — dry and shrill like insects in the 
grass. The dead became offensive, horrible. The grey sent a flag 
of truce: General Pemberton's request to General Grant that hos- 
tilities be suspended for several hours while the Federal dead were 
buried and the woimded relieved. It was then the twenty-fifth. 
Grant, his cigar between his teeth, sitting before his tent out near 
the Graveyard road, nodded assent. All that afternoon they buried 
the dead, and removed the yet living. A thimder-shower came down 
and did something to wash away the stains. In the silence and re- 
spite from the shells, Vicksburg left its caves and hurried through 
trampled gardens back to the homes it loved. Here and there was 
ruin. The shell might have exploded in the porch, bearing down the 
white pillars, or in the parlour, shivering the mirrors and the crystal 
chandeliers, or upon the stair, or in a bedroom. Here and there 
was wholly ruin. A gaunt framework lifted itself among the roses, 
or the white magnolias stared at a heap of charred timbers. . . . 
The truce lasted less than three hours. 

There was one cave quite out of town, quite near the lines. It 



132 CEASE FIRING 

belonged to an old country-house with a fair garden, and it was digged 
at the time of the bombardment the past summer. Now the house 
had been burned and the people occupying it had gone into the 
crowded town. The cave stood empty. It had been made in the side 
of a tall, vine-draped bank. Dark cedars with heavy and twisted 
roots overhung it, and on either side there was ivy and honeysuckle. 
It was a large cave, clean and dry. The family that had moved 
away had left within it a low bed and a small old dressing-table and 
other furniture and a little china and tinware. At no great distance 
trickled and gurgled the spring belonging to the house. One heard it 
in the night-time, but all day long it was lost in the thunder. Desiree 
went to it for water only after dark. 

The house which had given her refuge had been one of the first 
demolished. She looked at all the warrens that had been dug in the 
earth, and then, one rosy evening, she walked out toward the lines. 
She took the direction of the redan where Edward was stationed, 
and just on the townward side of the line of sentries she found this 
ruined house in its ruined garden and the empty cave. The next day 
in she moved. 

Lieutenant Edward Gary got her message, brought him by his 
commanding officer. " Gary, I was riding by the ruined house, and a 
very beautiful woman came out of a cave in the hill and said she was 
your wife, and that she was making her home there, and would you 
come to Gape Jessamine when you could." 

It was two days before he could go to Cape Jessamine. The even- 
ing of the truce he went, through the great fresh coolness after the 
storm. There was yet in the sky a dark blur of cloud with a sweep 
below it of ragged, cr^pe-like filaments, but the lightning and thun- 
der had ceased and the rain was over. Moist fragrance rose from the 
desolated garden. After all the heat and turmoil there was a silence 
that seemed divine. Just by the mouth of the cave, half buried in 
the trailing ivy, Desiree had placed a bench. Here, the first rapture 
of meeting over, they sat in the evening light, the storm rolling away, 
an odour coming to them of mignonette. 

He gathered her hands in his. " Desiree Gaillard, this is no place for 
you! They are driving an approach to the redan and are massing 
guns against it. The shells will fall in this garden. Go back to the 
town!" 



THE SIEGE 133 

"No; I will not. I like this better." 

"The point is that you may be killed." 

"No, I will not be. The shells fall, too, in the town. I will be care- 
ful." 

"Dear heart, I mean it." 

"Dear heart, I mean it, too. The danger is not greater than it is in 
town. Yesterday there a child's arm was torn away." 

"Oh—" 

"Yes. . . . It is so frightful. And they are burying the dead out 
there. A soldier told me." 

"Yes, . . . How still it seems! And the mignonette . . ." 

"It is as still as was the garden at Cape Jessamine. Look how the 
clouds are drifting by. . . ." 

"Desiree, I brought you into the coimtry of Danger. If you had 
gone to the Fusilier place — " 

"I should be dead by now. The country of Danger is a happy 
coimtry to-night. I fear it no more than you. Indeed, I love it — 
since you are here. We are not children travelling, you and I. Look 
at the light trembling up from the west!" 

"That night upon the levee. . . . You were the heart of the red 
light. Now you sit here, heart of the gold light. ... I love you." 

"I love you." 

The clouds drifted away, the sun went down clear. The evening 
star was shining like a silver lamp when the two unlocked their 
arms, kissed, and rose. All the ruined garden was filled with fireflies, 
and there stole upward the odour of the mignonette. She went with 
him to the fallen old brick gateposts. There they embraced and 
parted. Going down toward the trenches he looked back and saw 
her standing, the fireflies about her like stars, behind her tall shadowy 
trees, and, like a hieroglyphic against the sky, the charred rafters of 
the ruined house. 

At dawn the cannonading began anew and lasted all day. Musk- 
etry, too, volleyed and rolled. The Federal ammunition never lacked, 
but the grey were in no position to spend with freedom. Every ridge 
of the besieging line belched saffron flame, thick smoke, and thunder ; 
every point of vantage sent its stream of minies, horribly singing. 
On this day the blue began sap after sap. In the night-time the grey 
sent a detachment from Stevenson's right out upon the river flats, 



134 CEASE FIRING 

their errand the constructing of an abatis against a possible blue ap- 
proach that way. A Federal party came against them and there was 
a bitter skirmish. The gunboats, excitedly waking, thrust a duel 
upon the river batteries. The night flamed and roared. The grey 
won out upon the flats and returned with a hundred prisoners. The 
morning saw the river fight and the sinking of the Cincinnati. 

May shook and thundered toward its sulphurous close. The 
twenty-ninth, thirtieth, and thirty-first were marked by a continu- 
ous, frightful bombardment. By now the blue parallels were close, 
close to every main grey work. They were very close, indeed, to 
the Third Louisiana Redan. All night the grey engineers and their 
haggard men dug, dug to repair the daytime breaches, to make inner 
lines. On the first day of June fire broke out in the town. There 
threatened a general conflagration, but soldiers and civihans con- 
quered the flames before there was disaster irretrievable. The 
weather was deadly hot. Fever became epidemic. 

There arrived a question of musket caps. Imperatively needed, 
they must be had. If it were possible for a few daring men to get 
down the river and across, behind the enemy, to Jackson, General 
Johnston would send the caps. There were volunteers. Captain 
Saunders, Lamar Fontaine, a courier named Walker, were the first 
diosen; later, a noted scout and Lieutenant Edward Cary. At mid- 
night they drifted down the river on logs. The battery under whose 
shadow they had set out listened for a shout, looked for a leaping 
flame from some one of the gunboats they must pass. But the 
gunboats lay silent. There was always driftwood upon the rushing 
river. 

At dawn the mortars on the Louisiana side began to shell the bat- 
teries and the town beyond. Later the gunboats took a hand. Six 
days in succession this bombardment opened with the first light in 
the east and closed with the latest in the west. Vicksburg lost the 
last semblance of old times. The bombs ripped houses open as 
they ripped bodies. The blue began to drive double saps against 
the principal redans. The grey began to countermine. All the 
torn, sunbaked line knew that from now on it would stand over 
volcanoes. 

Desiree went into the town and to the hospitals, but when she 
found there were nurses enough she was glad — though, had there 



THE SIEGE 135 

been need, she like all the rest would have worked there until she 
dropped. 

At the door of one of the hospitals she spoke to a surgeon. " There 
is no yellow fever ?" 

"No, thank God! Not yet. — I'll strike on wood." 

They watched a shell burst in the air above an empty garden. 
"Well, if they'd only keep that spot for a target! But they 
won't. . . . When we stopped counting a week ago the hospitals 
had been struck twenty-one times. It's hard on wounded men to 
be rewoimded. — There's another!" 

The shell ploughed a trench across the street, burst against the 
comer of a brick wall, and brought it down in ruin. 

"You can't blame them for getting unnerved, lying there and list- 
ening," pursued the surgeon. "Then they don't get well quickly 
and conditions are unfavoiurable for amputations and operations. 
And I've never seen worse wounds than we're getting in this siege. 

— There's another!" 

Desiree went on to a row of caves in a parched hillside. Here were 
certain of her old friends, and here was a kind of central storeroom 
from which she with others drew her slender rations. The basket 
which she had brought she partly filled, then sat upon a stone and 
asked and answered questions. It was not for long; she was not 
happy away from Cape Jessamine. They begged her to stay; they 
represented that a moderate risk was all right, — they ran it here, 

— but that so near the lines she was in actual danger. She laughed 
with her beautiful eyes and went her way. 

A little farther down the line she paused for a moment beside a 
young woman in black sitting in the cave mouth, a slate and pencil 
on her knee and beside her a boy and girl. " You are keeping school. 
Miss Lily?" 

"It is n't exactly school," said Miss Lily, "but one must enter- 
tain the children. It is hard on them being penned up like this." 

"We're drawing funny pictures," explained the boy, "This is 
General Grant." 

"And this," chimed in the girl, "is General Sherman! Doesn't 
he look fierce ? " 

"And this is Yankee Doodle! Look at his feather — all over the 
slate!" 



136 CEASE FIRING 

Miss Lily leaned a little forward, her thin hands clasped about her 
knees, her luminous dark eyes upon the murky sky. She had a voice 
of liquid sweetness, all shot wili little lights and shadows. "I had 
such a vivid dream last night. I thought that suddenly all the shells, 
instead of coming this way, were going that way, and somebody said it 
would be because General Johnston was coming with a great army 
and that the enemy's cannon were turned against them. All the sky 
grew clear red instead of blue, and in it I saw the army coming. 
It was like the pictures of the Judgment Day. And the flag was in 
front, and there were clouds and thunders. And the enemy was swept 
of the face of the earth." She sighed. "And then I woke up, and the 
shells were coming this way." 

"I dreamed, too," said the little girl; "I dreamed about Christ- 
mas." 

Desiree went back to Cape Jessamine. On the way ghe walked for 
a while beside an old negro woman. " Yass, 'm, yass, 'm! De deb- 
bil am rainin' fire an' brimstone! En now ef de Lawd 'd only send 
de manna an' de quails ! " 

"Are you hungry ?" asked D6sir6e. "You look hungry." 

" Well, 'm, dar wuz de chillern. I done hab my ration en dey done 
hab theirs, but de Lawd Jesus knows growin' chillern need six ra- 
tions! I could n't give 'em six, but I giv 'em mine. — I ben lookin' 
at de berries in de patch ober dar, but Lawd! de bloom ain't much 
moh'n fallen!" 

Desiree uncovered the basket and shared with her her loaf of 
bread. The other took it with glistening eyes and profuse thanks. 
They parted, and Desiree went on to the cave below the cedars in 
the ruined garden. The day was hot, hot! and the air was thick, and 
there was always smell of burned powder, and dull, continual noise. 
But the cave itself was dark and cool. She had drawn the ivy so that 
it fell like a curtain across the entrance. She drank a cup of water, 
ate a piece of bread, then lay down upon her pallet. She lay very 
straight, her hands clasped upon her breast, her dark eyes fixed upon 
the veil of ivy. The light came in, cool and green like emerald water. 
The booming of the cannon grew rhythmic like great waves against a 
cliS. Edward! Edward! They beat in her brain — Edward! Edward! 

She k-new that he was gone with the others for the musket caps. 
Day by day soldiers in numbers passed her garden. She had come to 



THE SIEGE 137 

know the faces of many and had made friends with them. Sometimes 
they asked for water. Sometimes the wounded rested here. An offi- 
cer, mortally wounded, had been laid upon this pallet and had died 
here, upheld for the last labouring breath in her arms. The colonel 
commanding the troops in the redan and trenches at this point 
stopped occasionally in coming or going. He was a chivalrous, grey- 
mustached hero who paid her compliments three-piled. It was he 
who told her of the volxmteers for dangerous service, but it was a 
smoke-grimed, tattered private who brought her a line from Edward, 
pencilled just at starting. . . . Five days ago. 

She lay perfectly still, breathing lightly but deeply. Her mind, like 
a bird, flew now into this landscape, now into that. Cape Jessamine 
— Cape Jessamine — and the river rolling over what had been home 
and life. Her room — the river rolling over^her room — the bal- 
cony with the yellow rose and the silken dresses in the carved ward- 
robe. . . . She was in New Orleans. — Mardigras — Rex pass- 
ing — Louis as Rex — flowers down raining. All the masks — the 
ball. . . . France — an old house in Southern France with poplars 
and a still stream. . . . Her eyelids closed. Green water falling, and 
the cypresses of Cape Jessamine. . . . She turned on her side — 
Edward I Edward! 

. The great waves continued to break against the cliffs, then 
arose a deafening crash as of down-ruining land. Desiree sprang to 
her feet and went and pushed aside the ivy. Thick smoke hung over 
a salient some distance to the right; she saw men running. Though 
she had never seen a mine exploded, she knew it for what it was. She 
watched the thickest of the smoke lift and drift aside, she saw that 
the flag still waved from the salient and she gathered from the steadi- 
ness of the world in general and the rhythmic pursuance of the 
cannonading that the mine had not been large, or had failed of its 
full intent. She knew, however, that in the salient there had been 
moments of destruction and anguish. 

Sleep was driven from her eyes. She sat' down upon the bench 
without the door. It was the blazing afternoon. She saw the air 
upquivering from the baked earth, the ruined wall. The neglected 
garden looked dead with sultriness. Beyond, in the heat, she saw the 
camps, tents, huts of dried boughs, small wooden structures. From 
them to the front ran strange geometric lines that were the covered 



138 CEASE FIRING 

ways. She saw the sentries, small, metallic-looking figures. Then 
came trenches, breastworks, redan. Smoke was over them, but here 
and there it gave and let through the red points of flags, or a vision 
of soldiers. The horizon all around stood a wall of murk torn by red 
flashes. That the air rocked with sound was now a matter of course. 
The ear was accustomed to it, as to the roar of a familiar cataract, 
or as mechanics and mill-hands might be to the roar of machinery. 
Distracting sound ceased to be distracting. The attention went 
where it was needed, as in the silence of the desert. Desiree sat 
with her hands in her lap, staring into the heat and light. She sat 
with a certain look of the Sphinx, accepting the spectator's place, 
since the ages had fixed her there, and yet with a dim and inner 
query that raised the corners of her lips. 

A squad of soldiers came by, paused and asked if they might get 
water. When they came back from the spring she stopped them with 
her eyes. 

"Did the mine do much harm ?" 

"No, 'm, mighty little, considering. It hurt a dozen men and gave 
us some digging and mending to do to-night. Good for us, I reckon I 
We all are so awful lazy — serving only twenty out of twenty-four 
hours!" 

"Yes," said Desiree. "I've observed how lazy you are. There 
never were soldiers who did better than you are doing. — Is there 
any news ? " 

"They've got their sap rollers within a hundred feet of us. I've 
got an idea that I'm going to give the captain. If you'd soak wads 
of cotton in turpentine, and wrap them in pieces of match and fire 
them from an old large-bore gun into them rollers, you might bum 
the darned things up!" 

" Two of the men who went after caps got in at dawn thismorning." 

"Two — ?" 

"Yes, 'm. Captain Saunders and Walker. They brought two him- 
dred thousand caps between them. They had a lively time getting 
out, and a livelier getting in." 

"The others — ?" 

"They have n't been heard from. It was n't an easy job! I reckon 
if we get two back — and that many caps — it 's as good as we could 
expect." 



THE SIEGE 139 

The day declined. The sun went down like a red cannon ball. The 
cannonading ceased; the minies ceased. Slowly the smoke drifted 
away and let the stars be seen. The silence after sound oppressed, 
oppressed! Desiree sat still upon the bench. The moon rose, round 
and white, mounted and made the world spectral. At last she stood 
up. She raised and opened her arms, then closed them on each other 
and wrung her hands. Then she went out of the night without to 
that within the cave. The moon came strongly in. When, presently, 
she lay down upon the pallet, she drew her eyes and forehead out of 
the pool of silver. Edward! Edward I 

Between the dead night and the first dawn, an hour before the 
sharpshooters would begin, she suddenly sat up, then rose to her 
feet. The moonlight was gone from the floor; there was only the 
unearthly hush and ebb of the hour. She moved to the entrance, 
pushed aside the ivy, and stood with held breath. Though she could 
not see him, she knew when he turned in at the ruined gate. A mo- 
ment and his voice was in her ears. " Desiree ! " — another, and they 
were clasped in each other's arms. "I got in an hour ago — with the 
caps. I have till dawn." 

Throughout the seventh and eighth of June the firing from the 
mortars was very heavy and the Federal digging, digging continued. 
The grey private's device was adopted and a number of sap rollers 
were set afire and destroyed, exposing the sappers behind and com- 
pelling fresh beginnings. On the Jackson road, before Hebert's 
lines, the blue were using for screen cotton bales piled high upon a 
flatcar. This shield also was fired by musket balls wrapped in tur- 
pentine and tow. Bales and car went up in flames. The grey began 
new rifle-pits, and in the redans they collected thundering barrels 
and loaded shells. There was a feeling of impending assault. Now, 
too, began night sallies — Federal attacks upon the picket lines, 
Confederate repulses. Sentinel duty, heavy from the first, grew ever 
more heavy. Men fought during the day, and the same men watched 
at night. Day and night the trenches must be manned. The lines 
were long, and by now there were barely eighteen thousand grey 
effectives. They lived perforce in the trenches; they had no relief 
from the narrow ditches. The sun of a Southern June blistered and 
baked; then came torrential rains and soaked all things; then the sun 
shone again and the heavens became an inverted bowl of brass. On 



I40 CEASE FIRING 

the twelfth of June the troops were put on half -rations; a little later, 
these, too, were reduced. The water grew low and very impure. 
There were so many dead bodies — men and animals. Fever ap- 
peared in every main work, and in every trench. Men lifted their 
muskets with shaking hands. 



o 



CHAPTER XIII 

ACROSS THE POTOMAC 

N the thirteenth of June, Ewell and the Second Corps forded 
the Potomac. 



"Come! 'T is the red dawn of the day, 
Maryland!" 

sang the men. 

"Come with thy panoplied array, 

Maryland! . . . 
Come, for thy shield is bright and strong, 

Maryland! 
Come, for thy dalliance does thee wrong, 

Maryland! ..." 

From the thirteenth to the twenty-first they bivouacked on and 
near the battle-field of Sharpsburg. By now they were used to 
revisiting battle-fields. Kemstown — Manassas — many another 
stricken field; they knew them once, they knew them twice, they 
knew them times again! On the twenty-first, Ewell had orders from 
Lee to march northward into Pennsylvania, then eastwardly upon 
Harrisburg on the Susquehanna. "Old Dick" broke camp at dawn 
of the twenty-second. 

South of the Potomac waited Lee with the First and Third Corps. 
He waited watching "Fighting Joe Hooker," willing to give him 
battle in Virginia if he so elected. On the twentieth he sent a dis- 
patch from Berryville to Richmond, to Mr. Davis. 

Mr. President: — I have the honour to report, for the informa- 
tion of your Excellency, that General Imboden has destroyed the 
bridges on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad over Evarts's Creek, 
near Cumberland; the long bridge across the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal below Cumberland; the iron bridge across the North Branch 
of the Potomac, with the wooden trestle adjoining it; the double- 
span bridge across the mouth of Patterson's Creek; the Fink's 



142 CEASE FIRING 

patent iron bridge across the mouth of the South Branch of the 
Potomac, three spans of 133 1-3 feet each, and the wooden bridge 
over Little Cacapon. 

All the depots, water tanks, and engines between the Little 
Cacapon and the Cumberland are also destroyed, with the block- 
houses at the mouth of the South Branch and Patterson's Creek. 

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, about two miles above Old 
Town, where the embankment is about forty feet high, has been 
cut, and General Imboden reports that when he left it the entire 
embankment for about fifty yards had been swept away. 

A similar crevasse with like results was also made in the canal 
about four miles from Old Town. 

Lieutenant-Colonel White, of the cavalry, has also cut the Balti- 
more and Ohio Railroad, east of the Point of Rocks. 

General Milroy has abandoned the south side of the Potomac, 
occupying Harper's Ferry with a picket, and holds the Maryland 
Heights with about eight thousand men. 

General Ewell's corps is north of the Potomac, occuppng Sharps- 
burg, Boonsborough, and Hagerstown. His advance cavalry is at 
Chamliersburg, Pennsylvania. 

The First Division of General A. P. Hill's corps will reach this 
vicinity to-day; the rest follow. 

General Longstreet's corps with Stuart's cavalry still occupy the' 
Blue Ridge between the roads leading through Ashby's and Snick- 
er's Gaps, holding in check a large force of the enemy, consisting 
of cavalry, infantry, and artillery. 

The movement of the main body of the enemy is still toward the 
Potomac, but its real destination is not yet discovered. . . . 

If any of the brigades that I have left behind for the protection of 
Richmond can, in your opinion, be spared, I should like them to be 
sent to me. 

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee, General. 

Several days later, Ewell being now so advanced that support for 
him was absolutely necessary, Longstreet was withdrawn from the 
edge of the Blue Ridge. With the First Corps he crossed the Poto- 
mac at Williamsport. A. P. Hill and the Third followed, crossing at 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 143 

Shepherdstown. At Hagerstown the two corps united and the 
resulting column moved northward into Pennsylvania. 

Now Jeb Stuart's only fault was that he too dearly loved a raid. 
He applied to Lee for permission to take three brigades, thread the 
Bull Run Mountains, attain the enemy's rear, pass between his 
main body and Washington and so cross into Maryland, joining the 
army somewhere north of the Potomac. Now Lee's only fault was 
an occasional too gracious complaisance, a too moderate estimate 
of his own judgment, a willingness to try for what they were worth 
the suggestions of subordinates. With entire justice he loved and 
trusted Stuart and admired his great abilities. He permitted the de- 
flection of the cavalry — only the cavalry must keep him cognizant 
of every move of the enemy. If Hooker finally crossed the Poto- 
mac, he must know it at once, and at once Stuart must fall in upon 
the right of the grey army of invasion. 

Ewell at Sharpsburg broke camp at dawn of the twenty-second. 
Followed a week of, on the whole, tranquil progress. "Old Dick's" 
marches were masterly done. Reveille sounded at dawn. An hour 
later the troops were on the road. Unhurrying and undelayed, 
they made each day a good march and bivouacked with the setting 
sun. 

How fair seemed the rich Pennsylvania countryside! The Valley 
of Virginia had worn that aspect before the war. It, too, had had 
yellow wheat-fields and orchards and turning mill wheels. It, too, 
had had good brick country-houses and great barns and peaceful 
towns and roads that were mended when they were worn. It, too, 
had had fences and walls and care. It had had cattle in lush mead- 
ows. "Land of Goshen!" said Ewell's soldiers. "To think we were 
like this once!" 

"Well, we will be again." 

"Listen to old Cheerfulness! And yet I reckon he's right, I 
reckon he's right, I reckon he's right!" 

"Of course he's right! I couldn't be low-spirited if I tried. 
Hallelujah I" 

The Second Corps did not try. No more did the First nor the 
Third. The Army of Northern Virginia was in good spirits. Behind 
it lay some weeks of rest and recuperation; behind that the victory 
of the Wilderness. Worn and inadequate enough as it was, yet this. 



144 CEASE FIRING 

army's equipment was better to-day than it had been. It had the 
spoils of great battle-fields. Artillery was notably bettered; cavalry 
was fit and fine; infantry a seasoned veteran who thought of a time 
without war as of some remote golden age. The Army of Northern 
Virginia was now organized as it had not been organized before for 
efficiency. It numbered between sixty and seventy thousand men. 
It had able major- and lieutenant-generals and a very great com- 
manding general. It was veteran, eager for action, confident, with 
victories behind it. There was something lifted in the spirit of the 
men. Behind them, across the Potomac, lay a devastated land, — 
their land, their home, their mother country! Before them lay a 
battle, a great battle, the greatest battle yet, perhaps! Win it — 
win it! and see a great rainbow of promise, glorious and bright, arch 
itself over the land beyond the river, the land darkened, devastated, 
and beloved! . . . Before them, as they marched, marched a vision 
of dead leaders : Shiloh and Albert Sidney Johnston — Port Re- 
public and Ashby — Chancellorsville and Stonewall Jackson — 
of many dead leaders, and of a many and a many dead comrades. 
The vision did not hurt; it helped. It did not weaken their hearts; 
it strengthened them. 

The Stonewall Brigade found itself in good heart and upon the 
road to Greencastle. It was a sunny June day and a sunny June road 
with oxheart cherry trees at intervals. Corps, divisions, brigades, 
regiments, companies — one and all had orders, calm and complete, 
not to plunder. "The Commanding General," ran Lee's general 
order, "earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain with most scrupulous 
care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property, and he 
enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all 
who shall in any way of end against the orders on this subject." To the 
credit of a poorly clad army, out of a land famished and fordone, be 
it said that the orders were obeyed. The army was in an enemy's 
land, a land of plenty, but the noncombatant farming-people of that 
land suffered but little in purse or property and not at all in person. 
"I was told," writes a good grey artilleryman, "by the inhabitants 
that they suffered less from our troops than from their own, and 
that if compelled to have either they preferred having the 'rebels' 
camped upon their land. I saw no plundering whatever, except that 
once or twice I did see branches laden with fruit broken from cherry 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 145 

trees. Of course it goes without saying that the quartermasters, 
especially of artillery battalions, were confessedly, and of malice 
aforethought, horse-thieves!" 

The Sixty-fifth Virginia admired the Cumberland Valley. "It 
looks for all the world like the picture of Beulah land in a 'Pilgrim's 
Progress' I got as a prize for learning the most Bible verses!" — 
"This landscape makes me want to cry. It looks so — so — so 
damn peaceful." — "That's so! They don't have to glean no 
battle-fields. They're busy reaping wheat." — "Cherries! Those 
cherries are as big as winesaps. I'm going to have cherry pie 
to-night, — 

"Can she make a cherry pie, 

Billy boy, Billy boy? 
Can she make a cherry pie, 

Charming Billy?" 

"Did you hear Early's boys tell about 'Extra Billy' at Winches- 
ter?" — "No." — "Well, 't was the artillery going by at a gallop 
to occupy a work they had just taken, going by the lying-down in- 
fantry, and Milroy's other batteries blazing against them from the 
other hills, and the Yankee sharpshooters just as busy as bees. And 
the lying-down infantry just cocked its eye up from the earth and 
said, 'Go it, boys!' But ex-Govemor William Smith ain't made like 
that. He stood up before his regiment just as graceful and easy as if 
he was going to make a speech, with the blue cotton umbrella over his 
shoulder, and when that artillery came thundering by, by jingo! he 
began bowing to every man and some of the horses! He just stood 
there and beamed and bowed — good old Governor! Everybody 
knew that he'd just forgotten and thought that he was at a political 
meeting." — "Probably he did. War's an awful intensifier and a 
kind of wizard that puts a year in a day, but if a man 's been habitu- 
ated one way for fifty years he'll slip back into it, cannon balls not- 
withstanding." — "There's a spring-house and a woman churning! 
Buttermilk / " — "Reckon she's got any cherry pies ? Reckon she 'd 
sell them to us ? Colonel says we've got to pay — pay good Con- 
federate money!" 

The Sixty-fifth marched on upon a sunshiny road, beneath blue 
sky, between crimson-fruited cherry trees. Beyond swelled the 
green and gold countryside, so peaceful. . . . Butterflies fluttered, 



146 CEASE FIRING 

honeybees hummed, birds warbled. Dinner was good meat and 
wheaten bread, taken in cheerful meadows, beneath elms and pop- 
lars. Village and farmer people showed themselves not tremend- 
ously hostile. Small boys gathered, happy and excited; Dutch 
farmers, anxiety for their red barns appeased, glowered not over- 
much. Women were stiflfer and took occasion to hum or sing aloud 
patriotic Northern songs. Southerners are a polite people, and the 
women of the Cumberland Valley met with no rudeness. At a 
cross-roads, the Sixty-fifth passing with jingle and tramp, a Penn- 
sylvania carriage horse, that had never snuffed the battle from afar, 
took fright at the grey men or the gleam of rifle barrels or the san- 
guine fluttering colours. Ensued a rearing and plunging, and, from 
the phaeton behind, a scream. Lieutenant Coffin sprang to the 
rescue. — The horse stood soothed, though trembling a little still. 
"Thar now! thar now!" said Billy Maydew,at the reins. The 
twelve-year-old urchin in the driver's seat glued his eyes to the 
marching Sixty-fifth and gasped with delight. The sprigged muslin 
and straw bonnet in the embrace of the phaeton made a gallant bid 
for the austerity of a marble monument. 

"You wish to cross the road, madam ? Or can you wait until the 
column has passed ?" 

"Oh, wait, please, sister! Golly! Look at that blue flag!" 

"No, I cannot wait. I wish to cross now. I am going to a funeral." 

The last of the Sixty-fifth passed with jingle and tramp. The 
Fourth was seen looming through the mist. Sergeant Maydew at 
the horse's head, Lieutenant Coffin beside the phaeton — across the 
highroad was conducted straw bonnet and sprigged muslin. The 
two soldiers stood back. Lieutenant Coffin making a courtly bow. 
It was answered by a stately inclination of the bonnet. The boy 
reluctantly said, "Get up!" to the horse, and the phaeton slowly 
climbed a flowery hill. 

The lieutenant and the sergeant strode after their regiment. " She 
was mighty sweet and fine!" volunteered Billy. " I like that dark, 
soft kind, like pansies. I'll tell you who I think she air like. She air 
like Miss Miriam Cleave at Three Oaks." 

Coffin considered. "I see what you mean. They are a httle alike. 
. . . Three Oaks!" 

"I used to think," said Billy, "that I'd be right happy if I could 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 147 

kill you. That was before Port Republic. Then I used to think I'd 
be right happy when Allan Gold had beat spelling into me and I 'd be 
made sergeant. And after Chancellorsville I thought I 'd be right 
happy if General Jackson got well. But I've thought right along, 
ever since White Oak Swamp, that I'd be right happy if the 
Sixty-fifth had back the only colonel I've ever cared much for, and 
that air Richard Cleave!" 

In the afternoon the Sixty-fifth came to the town of Greencastle. 
It looked a thriving place, and it had shops and stores filled with the 
most beautiful and tempting goods. Back home, the goods were all 
gone from the stores, the old stock assimilated and the new never 
appearing. The shop windows of Greencastle looked like fairyland, 
ahimdred Christmases all in one. "Look-a- there! Look at that 
ironware!" — "Look at them shirts and suspenders! Coloured 
handkerchiefs." — "Fancy soap and cologne and toothbrushes!" — 
"I wish I might send Sally that pink calico and some ribbons, and 
a hoop." — "Look at that plough — that's something new!" — 
"Figured velvet waistcoats." — "Lord have mercy! this is the 
sinfullest town of plutocrats!" — "Try them with Confederate 
money." — " Sure Old Dick said we might n't take just a little? " — 
"Oh, me! oh, me! there's a shoe-store and a hat-store and a drug- 
store." — "Say, Mr. Storekeeper, would you take for that pair of 
shoes a brand-new fifty-dollar Richmond Virginia bank note with 
George Washington and a train of cars on it?" — "He won't sell. 
This gilded town 's got so much money it does n't want any more — 
tired of money." — "Disgusting Vanity Fair kind of a place! Glad 
the colonel is n't going to halt us!" — Don't straggle, men I — "No, 
sir; we aren't!" 

Camp was clean beyond Greencastle — a lovely camp quite re- 
moved from Vanity Fair. Apparently the quartermasters had been 
able to buy. There was coffee for supper, real coffee, real sugar; 
there were light biscuits and butter and roast lamb. A crystal stream 
purled through the meadows; upon the hilltops wheat, partly 
shocked, stood against the rosy sky. The evening Wcis cool and 
sweet and the camp-fires for a long way, up and down and on either 
side the road, burned with a steady flame. The men lay upon the 
earth like dusty acorns shaken from invisible branches. At the foot 
of the hOls the battery and wagon horses cropped the sweet grass. 



148 CEASE FIRING 

The good horses! — their ribs did not show as they did on the Vir- 
ginia side of the Potomac. They were faring well in Pennsylvania. 
Rank and file, men and horses, guns and wagon train, the Second 
Corps, Rodes and Jubal Early and "Alleghany" Johnson, and 
"Dear Dick Ewell" at the head, — the Second Corps was in 
spirits. To-night it was as buoyant as a cork or a rubber ball. Where 
there were bands the bands played, played the sprightliest airs in 
their repertory. Harry Hays's Creoles danced, leaping like faims 
in the dying sunset and the firelight, in a trodden space beneath 
beech trees. 

The next morning Rodes and Johnson pursued the road to 
Chambersburg, but Early's division took the Gettysburg and 
York road, having orders to cut the Northern Central Railroad 
running from Baltimore to Harrisburg, and to destroy the bridge 
across the Susquehanna at Wrightsville and rejoin at Carlisle. 
Ahead went Gordon's Georgia brigade and White's battalion of 
cavalry. 

The town of Gettysburg, where they made boots and shoes, lay 
among orchards and gardens at the foot of the South Mountain. It 
numbered four thousand inhabitants, a large place for those days. 
It lay between the waters that drain into the Susquehanna and the 
waters that drain into the Potomac and commanded all the country 
roads. On the outskirts of this place, a place not marked out on that 
day from other places on the map. White's cavalry encountered a 
regiment of militia. The militia did not stand, but fled to either side 
the macadamized road, through the midsummer fields. A hundred 
and seventy-five were taken prisoner. On through Gettysburg 
marched Gordon and the cavalry, the people watching from the 
windows, and took the pike to York. Behind them came " Old Jube," 
marching in light order, having sent his trains to Chambersburg, 
"excepting the ambulances, one medical wagon for a brigade, the 
regimental ordnance wagons, one wagon with cooking-utensils 
for each regiment, and fifteen empty wagons to gather supplies 
with." 

It came on to rain. The troops bivouacked somewhat comfort- 
lessly a mile or two out on the York road. Two thousand rations 
were found in a train of cars. When they had been removed the cars 
were set afire, and in addition a railroad bridge hard by. These 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 149 

burned with no cheer in the flames seen through a thick veil of 
chilly rain. "I don't care if I never see Gettysburg again!" said 
the division. 

At dawn rang the bugles. The rain was over, the sun came up, 
breakfast was good, the country smiled, the division had a light 
heart. All this day they made a good march, through a pleasant 
country, leading to York. The cavalry was on ahead toward Han- 
over Junction, destroying railroad bridges. Gordon and his Georg- 
ians acted vanguard for the infantry. Of the main body, Brigadier- 
General William Smith with the Thirty-first, Forty-ninth, and 
Fifty-second Virginia headed the colunm. By reaped wheat and 
waving corn, by rich woods and murmuring streams, under blue sky 
and to the song of birds, through a land of plenty and prosperity, 
the grey column moved pleasantly on to York, and at sunset 
bivouacked within a mile or two of that place. 

Out to Gordon's camp-fire came a deputation — the mayor of York 
and prominent citizens. Gordon, handsome and gallant, received 
them with his accustomed courtesy. "Their object," he reports, 
"being to make a peaceable surrender, and ask for protection to 
life and property. They returned, I think, with a feeling of assured 
safety." 

The next day was Simday — a clear midsummer Sunday, the 
serene air filled with church bells. Gordon's men, occupying York, 
fovmd well-dressed throngs upon the sidewalks, in the doorways, 
leaning from the windows. Confederate soldiers had always to hope 
that the inner man could not be hidden, but shone excellently forth 
from the bizarrest ragged apparel. Sunburnt, with longish hair, 
gaunt yet, despite a fortnight with the flesh pots of this Egypt,creat- 
ure of shred and patches and all covered with the whitish dust of a 
macadamized road — it needed some insight to read how sweet and 
sound, on the whole, was the kernel within so weather-beaten a 
shell. Now Gordon was the Southern gentleman at his best. "Con- 
federate pride, to say nothing of Southern gallantry, "reports Gordon, 
"was subjected to the sorest trial by the consternation produced 
among theladies of York. . . . I assured these ladies that the troops 
behind me, though ill-clad and travel-stained, were good men and 
brave; that beneath their rough exteriors were hearts as loyal to 
women as ever beat in the breasts of honourable men ; that their own 



I50 CEASE FIRING 

experience and the experience of their mothers, wives, and sisters at 
home had taught them how painful must be the sight of a hostile 
army in their town; that under the orders of the Confederate Com- 
mander-in-Chief both private property and noncombatants were 
safe; that the spirit of vengeance and rapine had no place in the 
bosoms of these dust-covered but knightly men; and I closed by 
pledging to York the head of any soldier under my command who 
destroyed private property, disturbed the repose of a single home, 
or insulted a woman." 

Gordon made no tarrying in York, but moved on toward Wrights- 
ville, with orders to burn the long railroad bridge crossing the Sus- 
quehanna. A few hours later marched in Early's advance brigade — 
General ex-Governor William Smith on a fine horse at its head. 
Now this brigade had a very good band, as bands went in the Con- 
federate service, and this band proposed to enter York pla3dng 
"Dixie " ! Indeed, they had begun the familiar strains when an aide 
appeared, "General says you 'tooting fellows' are temporarily to 
lay that air in lavender. When you are in Rome, play what Rome 
likes, or, in other words, Virginians, take your manners along! He 
says come up front and play 'Yankee Doodle.'" 

York was out of doors for this brigade as it had been for Gordon's. 
In the sunny mid-afternoon, the column swung into its main street, 
"Extra Billy" riding at the head, beaming like the sun. Hero of a 
hundred hustings, he always took his manners with him; and indeed, 
as they came from his heart, he could not do otherwise. At the head 
of town he took off his hat, kept it in his hand, and began bowing 
right and left, always with his hearty, beamy smile. Behind him 
rode his smiling staff, and behind staff came the band, horns and 
drums giving "Yankee Doodle." 

The citizens of York upon the sidewalks — and they were crowded 
— developed a tendency to keep pace with the head of the column. 
It presently arrived that General William Smith, like a magnet, was 
carrying with him a considerable portion of the population. Before 
the procession opened the public square, bathed in a happy light. 
The band, having come to an end of "Yankee Doodle," played 
"Dixie," then slipped again into the first, then happily blended the 
two. Staff was laughing, regimental officers broadly smiling, the 
troops behind in the best of spirits. All poured iato ihe sunny 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 151 

square, where were more of the inhabitants of York. "Tell 'em to 
halt," ordered the ex-Governor, "and tell those tooting fellows to 
stop both tunes. These are nice people and I am going to give them 
a speech." 

He gave it, sitting very firm on his fine horse, to an open-mouthed- 
and-eyed crowd, behind him the troops at rest, the whole throng, 
invaded and invaders, filling the square and the street. He spoke in 
his geniallest fashion, with his mellowest voice and happiest allu- 
sions. The warm, yellow, late June sunshine flooded the square, 
lighting the curious throng, and that worn, grey, citizen soldiery, 
making a splendour of the brass instruments of the band and wrap- 
ping General William Smith in a toga of airy gold. "Ladies and 
gentlemen (and York has such beautiful ladies)," spoke "Extra 
Billy," "as you see, we are back in the Union! May we not hope 
that you are glad to see us ? I assure you that we are glad to see 
you! I wish that we were dressed for visiting, but you'll excuse us, 
we know! What we all need on both sides is to mingle more with 
each other, so that we shall learn to know and appreciate each 
other's good qualities. Now — " 

From behind arose a murmur. The aides looked over their shoul- 
ders and beheld a pushing to the front on the part of some person or 
persons. Whatever it was, cavalry squad trying to pass, aides, or 
couriers, general officer, and staff — there was difficulty in attracting 
the attention of the grinning, absorbed trocips sufficiently to let the 
party by. 

"Now," continued General William Smith, "we are n't at all the 
villains and cut-throats that you've been seeing in your dreams! 
Clothes don't make the man, and we 're better than our outfit. 
When this little rumpus is all over and you come visiting us in the 
Confederacy of the South (and I hope that the beautiful ladies of 
York will come often and come in summer-time, for we want to 
have a tournament and crown them all Queens of Love and Beauty) 
— when this little border war is over, I say — " 

The party from the rear had now got to the front. A thin, stoop- 
shouldered man, with a long, thin beard and glittering, small black 
eyes, rose in his stirrups, leaned forward, and brought a vehement 
hand down upon "Extra Billy's" shoulder. His voice followed — 
Jubal A. Early's voice — a fierce sing-song treble. " General Smith, 



152 CEASE FIRING 

what the Devil are you about? — stopping the head of this column, 
in this cursed town ! " 

"Extra Billy's" smile, manly and beaming and fearless, stayed 
with him. " Why, General, just having a little fun 1 Good for us all, 
sir; good for us all!" 

Smith's brigade moved on, to be followed by Hoke's and Harry 
Hays's. Camp was pitched a mile or two out of town, "Old Jube," 
however, resting with Avery's command in York. "I made," he re- 
ports, "requisition upon the authorities for 2000 pairs of shoes, 1000 
hats, 1000 pairs of socks, $100,000 in money, and three days' rations 
of all kinds. Subsequently between 1200 and 1500 pairs of shoes, 
the hats, socks, and rations were furnished, but only $28,600 in 
money, which was paid to my quartermaster, the mayor and other 
authorities protesting their inability to get any more money, as it 
had all been run ofE previously, and I was satisfied they made an 
honest efiFort to raise the amount called for." 

He continues: "A short time before night, I rode out in the direc- 
tion of Columbia Bridge, to ascertain the result of Gordon's expedi- 
tion, and had not proceeded far before I saw an immense smoke 
rising in the direction of the Susquehanna, which I subsequently dis- 
covered to proceed from the bridge in question. This bridge was one 
mile and a quarter in length, the superstructure being of wood on 
stone pillars, and it included in one structure a railroad bridge, a pass- 
way for wagons, and also a tow-path for the canal which here crosses 
the Susquehanna. The bridge was entirely consumed, and from it 
the town of Wrightsville caught fire, and several buildings were 
consumed, but the farther progress of the flames was arrested by the 
exertions of Gordon's men. . . . On the evening of the twenty- 
ninth, I received through Captain Elliott Johnston, aide to General 
Ewell, a copy of a note from General Lee which required me to 
move back so as to rejoin the rest of the corps on the western side 
of the South Mountain, and accordingly, at daylight on the morn- 
ing of the thirtieth, I put my whole command in motion. ... I 
encamped about three miles from Heidlersburg, and rode to see 
General Ewell at that point, and was informed by him that the 
object was to concentrate the corps at or near Cashtown, and I 
received directions to move next day at that point. . . . After 
passing Heidlersburg a short distance, I received a note from Gen- 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 153 

eral Ewell informing me that General Hill was moving from Cash- 
town towards Gettysburg, and that General Rodes had turned off 
at Middletown and was moving toward the same place, and direct- 
ing me also to move to that point. I therefore continued to move on 
the road I was then on toward Gettysburg. . . ." 

From Greencastle, Rodes and Johnson, Ewell riding at the head 
of the column, had marched to Chambersburg and thence to Car- 
lisle. They reached the latter place on the twenty-seventh. On this 
day Robert E. Lee, with Longstreet and A. P. Hill, the First and 
Third Corps, bivouacked near Chambersburg. 

With the grand patience which he habitually exercised, Lee 
waited for tidings from Stuart. There was room for intense im- 
patience. His cavalry leader, who was to keep him informed of the 
least move upon the board of the other colour, had failed to do so. 
Four days in the enemy's country, -and no news of Stuart and no 
news of the blue host south of the Potomac ! Was it still south of the 
Potomac? Surely so, or Stuart's couriers, one after the other, would 
have come riding in! Surely so, or Stuart himself would be here, 
falling in on the right as ordered! With entire justice the grey com- 
mander loved and trusted the grey cavalry leader. He waited now, 
in the green Pennsylvania country, with a front of patience, but per- 
haps with an inner agony. Was Hooker yet in Virginia? Lee sat 
still in his small tent, his eyes level, his hand resting lightly on the 
table; then he rose, and said to the adjutant-general that the army 
would advance, next day, upon Harrisburg. 

But that same night, the twenty-eighth, there was a movement 

at the door of the tent. " Captain , from General Longstreet, 

sir, with the scout, Harrison." 

A short, lean, swarthy man in citizen's dress, came forward and 
saluted. 

"You are," said Lee, "the scout General Longstreet sent into 
Washington?" 

"Yes, General. Three weeks ago from Fredericksburg." 

"Very well. Give me your report." 

" General Longstreet gave me money, sir, and orders to make my 
way into Washington and to stay there until I had something im- 
portant to report and could get out. I only managed the last, sir, 
five days ago. Since then I've been travelling at night and what 



154 CEASE FIRING 

parts of the day I could without observation. I knew, of course, 
that the army had crossed or was crossing, and from Washington I 
struck out toward Frederick. There was talk in Washington that 
General Hooker would certainly be superseded, and last night I 
heard that he had resigned and General Meade was in command." 

"I have been looking for that. General Hooker was a good 
fighter, and so is General Meade. But it is of the whereabouts of 
that army that I want to know." 

"I had to hide at Frederick, sir. Three corps were already there. 
As I left I saw the dust of a fourth." 

"At Frederick I" 

"Yes, sir. I understood from a farmer that they crossed at 
Edwards's Ferry the twenty-fifth and sixth." 

"Have you seen or heard of General Stuart ?" 

"An ambulance driver told me there was a report that what he 
called the rebel cavalry had crossed the Potomac and were cutting 
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal." 

"And the enemy's line of march from Frederick ?" 

"Toward South Mountain, sir." 

"That is all of consequence you have to report ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Very well. You have done well, Harrison. Good night!" 

The scout and the aide departed. In the tent there was a some- 
what heavy silence. Lee drew the map upon the table closer and sat, 
his forehead upon his hand, studying it. Two candles stood beside 
him, and the white light showed the beauty of the down-bent head 
and face. His expression was very quiet, but the adjutant, watching 
him, ached for the ache that he read there, the ache of a great gen- 
eral who was yet mortal, with a mortal's equipment; of the leader 
of brave men who were yet mortal with a quiverful of the arrows 
of mistake and random aim. The hopes of the South hung upon 
this campaign. All knew it; the adjutant-general knew it; the man 
bending over the map knew it. . . . Hooker — no, Meade! — was 
across the Potomac, and advancing. By now he would be some- 
where south of Gettysburg. . . . The candles burned clear; Lee sat, 
very still, his gaze level, his hand upon the map. 

Colonel Taylor ventured to speak. "The orders for Harris- 
burg-" 



ACROSS THE POTOMAC 155 

"Yes, Colonel. We must countermand them. These people are 
closer than I thought. I wish we had our cavalry. But I make mis- 
takes myself." He rose, moving out of the clear light into the dusk 
of the tent. "The orders are that all three corps concentrate at 
Cashtown a little to the west of Gettysburg." 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE CAVE 

ON the thirteenth of June grey countermines were begun from 
all the main grey works. The men worked continuously upon 
these, and in the night-time they strengthened the breaches 
made by the daily fierce cannonade. With the few hundred entrench- 
ing tools, with the improvised spades, the bayonet picks, with earth 
carried in camp-buckets, with all ingenious makeshifts, they bur- 
rowed and heaped continuously. But they laboured, now, somewhat 
weakly. They were so tired. The heat of that Southern land was 
frightful, and the confinement in the trenches was frightful. The 
thought began to sicken at those deep troughs in the earth. In 
the scanty sleep of officers and men they pressed upon the brain; 
they grew to seem trenches in the brains, troughs filled with dead 
thoughts, thoughts that still suffered. There was no relief from 
the trenches, no relief at all, except when a wound came — a bad 
wound — or fever came — serious fever with delirium — when the 
wounded or the fevered was borne with some risk from shells and 
minies to the hospital. Even in the hospital the trenches stayed in 
the brain. It came that, in the trenches, the tired, tired soldiers 
looked with something like envy upon the wounded or the fevered as 
he was borne away. "That fellow's going to get some sleep." — 
"Stop your nodding, Jimmy! — nodding same as if you were in 
church!" — "Captain's calling!" — "Go 'way! If you jerk your 
head back like that you'll break your neck." — "I wouldn't 
care," said Jimmy, "if it just meant sleeping on and on." — "It 
would n't. You'd be fighting again somewhere else in a jiffy! — O 
God! these trenches." 

Officers and men were dead for sleep. Officers and men had never 
dreamed of such fatigue. Officers and men handled sword and 
musket with hands that were hard to keep ennerved and watched 
the foe with eyes over which the lids would droop. It was growing 
ghastly at Vicksburg, and the June sun beat down, beat down. In 



THE CAVE 157 

the infrequent times when the river was clear of smoke it lay glit- 
tering like diamonds and topazes, paining the weary eye. North 
and east and south the cloud rarely lifted. A thinner battle cloud 
overhimg the seven-mile Confederate line. The grey could not 
spend powder as might the blue, nor did they have the blue's great 
horde of guns. But what with the blue and what with the grey all 
Vicksburg and its environs dwelled day after day, week after week, 
in a battle murk. The smoke was always there; the smell, the taste, 
were always there. The pitiless sun was no less hot for the ashen 
gauze through which it struck. Shorn of its beams, it rose and 
moved through the muddy blue, and set like a thick red-gold 
buckler, from behind which came lances of heat and madness. With 
the night there came drenching dews and the mist from the river. 
Heat and cold beat on the same men, cramped forever in the same 
trenches. 

On the tenth day of the siege the eighteen thousand fighting men 
had been put on half-rations. Later these were greatly reduced. At 
first five ounces of poor com or pea flour were issued daily; later the 
amoimt fell to three ounces. The mules in the place were slaugh- 
tered, but the meat gained in this way fed but a few. After mid- June 
the cats disappeared from the town. In the spring Vicksburg had 
had its fair vegetable gardens. Now every eatable root below or 
stalk or seed above the ground was gone. The small, unripe fruit, 
peach or quince or fig, the hard green berries, were gathered, stewed, 
and eaten. All things were eaten that could be eaten, but the men 
grew large-eyed, and their physical strength flagged. From almost 
the beginning the water had been bad. The men in the river batter- 
ies and the troops upon the right suffered most where all suffered 
much. The Federal shot and shell had slain, in the first days of the 
siege, a number of horses and mules. It being the first of the siege 
and starvation not yet above the horizon, these animals were 
dragged in the night to the river and thrown in. Now the cisterns 
were exhausted, the wells were insufficient. They were forced to 
draw by night the water from the edge of the river, filled with mag- 
gots as it was. They dug shallow wells in the hollows and dips of the 
land and placed sentinels over them to see that the water was not 
wasted. The water was there for drinking or for the slight cooking 
that went on; there was never any for washing. Some men forgot the 



158 CEASE FIRING 

feel of cleanliness; others set their lips and did without. Powder- 
grime and sweat; drenching rains that lined and floored every 
trench with miserable mire; fierce, beating suns that made the mire 
into a dust that stiffened the hair and choked the pores; effluvia, 
blood, refuse that could not be carted away, that there was not time 
to bury, — the trenches at Vicksburg and the slight camps behind 
grew like a bad dream, vague and sickening. Hunger that could not 
be fed dwelled in Vicksburg, weariness that could not find rest, in- 
sufficient sleep,' dirt, thirst, wounds, disease. Fever was there hugely, 
fever and flux, exhaustion, debility, and also hyperexcitement; 
strange outbreaks of nature and strange sinkings together. .Once 
there was a hint of cholera. Two surgeons stood over the man who 
had been lifted from the trench and now lay writhing on the earth 
under a roof of dried pine boughs. 

"It looks mighty suspicious," said one in a weary voice, barely 
rising above a whisper. "That's why I called you. It would be the 
last stroke." 

The other nodded. "You're right there. I've seen it once before, 
off a ship at Tampa, but I'm not sure that this is it. There's a 
mock heie of everything in the world that's awful, so it may be 
a mock of that, too." 

"I've heard that chloroform is good. One part chloroform, three 
parts water, two — " 

"Yes. There is n't any chloroform." 

The man died, but, whatever it had been, that particular disease 
did not spread. Others did. They spread apace. 

A grey mine was started from within the Third Louisiana Redan 
by sinking a vertical shaft and then digging outward a gallery under 
the Federal sap. Night and day the grey worked, and night and day 
worked the blue. The grey worked hungry, the blue worked fed. 
The grey worked heavy-lidded, with long, long shifts. The blue 
worked, rested and refreshed, with short shifts. The blue had every 
modern appliance for their work, the grey had not. The grey worked 
with desperation upon their inclined gallery; the blue drove steadily 
and apace toward the salient of the redan. 

Now and then there were assaults where the enemy thought his 
cannon or his mines had made a practicable breach. These were 
driven back, and then the great guns belched flame and thundered. 



THE CAVE 159 

The grey guns answered where answers were most strongly indic- 
ated; never had they had ammunition to spend on mere pleasure of 
defiance. Now here, now there, along the lines, leaping from place 
to place like lightning, musketry flamed and crackled. Always the 
blue minies kept up their singing, and always the many and deadly 
sharpshooters watched to pick off men and officers. The gunboats 
and the mortars from the Louisiana shore helped with a lavish hand 
the land guns. Day chiefly saw the bombardments, but there were 
nights when the region shook; when the bombs, exploding, reddened 
the sky; when, copper-hued, saffron-tinged, the clouds rolled over 
the place; when there was shriek and thunder, light and murk, glare 
and horror of the great city of Dis. 

Desiree could not rest within the cave or on the bench among the 
ivy sprajTs. Hard-by was now a field hospital, and now each morn- 
ing she left the ruined garden, moimted a little rise of ground, de- 
scended it, and foimd herself under a shed-like structure amid 
ghastly sights and sounds of suffering. Here she ministered as best 
she might. Like other Southern women she was familiar with plant- 
ation accidents. She knelt and helped with capable hands, prefer- 
ring to be there and occupied than to sit in the torn garden and hear 
upon the wind the sobbing and crying of this place. At night, lying 
upon her pallet, she sometimes stopped her ears against it. Sight 
horrified the brain, but hearing twisted the heartstrings. She never 
fancied that she distinguished Edward's voice; if he were hurt he 
would not cry aloud. But she trembled to hear the others crying, 
and though she loved life she would have died for them if she could 
have thereby stopped the crying. 

Now and again she went into the town. It was a place now of 
thin-faced heroism, large-eyed endurance, seldom-speaking women, 
patient children. Hunger was in the town as well as at the lines, hun- 
ger and fever, hunger and fever! Mourning was there, too; not loud 
but deep. There were so many widows, so many orphans. There 
were sisters with a brother's death upon their hearts; there were be- 
trothed girls who now would never marry. All were brave, with a 
dumb heroism. The past told. Aryan emigrants, women of the dark 
Teutonic forest, Pictish women, women of a Roman strain. Angle 
and Dane and Celt and Saxon, Gaul and Iberian and Hebrew, — 
yes, and women of Africa, — the wide past of famished sieges, of 



i6o CEASE FIRING 

back to the wall, of utter sacrifice, came again to the town of Vicks- 
burg upon the Mississippi River. 

Desiree returned to Cape Jessamine. The ruined garden was 
ruined now, indeed, torn by shot and shell, sunbaked, withered, 
dead. Post, beam, and rafter of the burned house no longer stood 
Uke a hieroglyphic against the sky. An exploding shell had wrecked 
the last support and all had fallen. Desiree, passing close, one day, 
saw a snake among the warped timbers. The trees had lost all green- 
ness. They, too, suffered deadly injury from the shells. The flowers 
were all withered. They could not bloom in that heavy and sulph- 
urous air. The bed of mignonette grew yellow and thin and wan. It 
lost its odour. The birds were gone long ago. One neither heard the 
buzz of bees nor saw a butterfly. It was as though a wizard's wand 
were waving away life and loveliness. 

Desiree kept her beauty, but it grew beauty of the inner outward, 
beauty of a myriad complexities, subtleties, intensities. Memory 
was there and forecasting, and everything heightened. She had her 
Leonardo look; she went from hour to hour, not unsmiling, but the 
smile was remote from mirth and near to thought. Her physical 
being was clean, poised, and strong. She fared as scantily as all the 
others, but she did not perceptibly weaken. Or if the body weakened, 
she drew deep upon the innermost reserve and braced nerve and 
muscle with her will. The field hospital thought her tireless. 

As she left the garden one day, a mine was sprung under the 
nearest salient and a breach made through which a blue wave at 
once undertook to pour. The grey meeting it, there followed three 
minutes of shock and roar, when the blue went back. It was an ugly 
breach, and while the grey cannon thundered it must be quickly 
mended. All the men possible fell to digging, while sand bags were 
brought and great bolsters of earth wrapped in old tenting. 
"Hurry! " said the captains. "Dig fast! " 

Desiree went nearer and nearer. A man with a spade, making 
some headway with a hillock of earth, which, as he loosened, another 
scraped into a sack, fell dead, the brain pierced by a sharpshooter's 
bullet. The man with the sack made a "Tchkl" with his tongue, 
then turned to shout for another digger. His eyes fell on Desiree. 

"What are you doing here, ma'am? This ain't no place for a 
woman." 



THE CAVE i6i 

Desiree bent and took the spade from the dead man's grasp. "I 
am strong," she said, "and I like to dig. Hold the sack open." 

She worked for an hour, until the breach was fully mended. 
At the last her fellow worker and she struck the dirt from their 
hands, and, straightening themselves, looked at each other. 

"You do fine," he said. "I reckon you must have had some dig- 
ging to do once." 

"Yes, I had," she answered. " For a long time and much of it. I 
am coming again." 

The next day there was a bombardment that shook earth and sky. 
When, in the late afternoon, it was over, the air rested thick as on 
the slopes of a volcano in action, dusk and thick and heavy with the 
sullen odour of strife. Through the false twilight, Desiree, now at 
the cave, saw looming figures, litter-bearers. She knew they would 
come in at the ruined gate, and they came. She met them by the 
fallen house. "I am not badly hurt," said Edward's voice. "Don't 
think it! And how blessed to have Cape Jessamine to come to — " 

The time wore on toward late June. The month of roses, here, was 
a month of red flowers of death. Outward from the Third Louisiana 
Redan dug feverishly the grey miners driving a gallery beneath the 
Federal sap. Outward from the blue lines dug fast and far the blue 
sappers, making for the Third Louisiana Redan that crowned a nar- 
row ridge. Within the redan, seeing the explosion approach, the grey 
bxiilt a second parapet some yards behind the first. On the twenty- 
fifth the explosion came. The salient was wrecked, six men who 
were digging a shaft were buried alive. Through the thick smoke 
and infernal din was pushed a blue charge, hurrahing. The grey 
were ready at the second parapet. The Sixth Missouri, held by 
Forney in reserve, poured into the injured works. "Yaaaaihl" 
they yelled; " Yaaaaihl Yaaaaihhhh!" and checked the blue with a 
deadly volley. Their colonel — Colonel Erwin — mounted the 
shattered parapet. He waved his sword. "Charge, men, charge!" 
A minie killed him, but his men poured over the parapet. There 
was fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Dark came, the blue holding ditch 
and slope of the outer, now ruined parapet, the grey masters of the 
inner works. 

In the middle of the night the two Confederate mines beyond the 
stockade redan were exploded, filling up the Federal sap and parallels 



1 62 CEASE FIRING 

and destroying their sap rollers. There was also this night a transfer 
of guns, a Dahlgren gun being added to the battery facing the 
enemy's works on the Jackson road, and a ten-inch mortar mounted 
on the Warrenton road. Off and on, throughout this night, arose a 
fierce rattle of musketry, came an abortive blue attempt to storm 
the grey line. Half the grey men watched; the other half slept 
upon its arms. 

Life in the town grew tense and vibrant. Also something high and 
clear came into it and a certain insouciance. The caves gave parties. 
There was no room to dance and there was nothing to eat; but 
parties the slight gatherings were called. In the hospitals the 
wounded ceased to blench at the crashing shells. The surgeons and 
nursing women went lightly between the pallets, nor turned their 
heads because a roof was struck. The large-eyed children played 
quietly in the cave mouths, or gathered about some woman who told 
them of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. The negro mam- 
mies crooned the babies to sleep. Officers and men passed through 
the streets, exhibiting a certain wan jauntiness. Commissariat and 
quartermasters said pleasant things about the squirrel's store with 
which they must feed an army, and the powder-horn and pouch 
of shot from which they must keep it in ammunition. The non- 
combatant citizens did their share toward keeping up the general 
spirits. Songs appeared, and there was a general and curious 
readiness to laugh. A Vicksburg newspaper faced with a thought- 
ful brow the giving-out of paper and a consequent suspension of 
issue. It did not want to suspend. It viewed a forlorn little wall- 
paper shop, and it went across and purchased the dusty stock. 
The next morning it came out with a backing of noble arabesque, 
of morning glories on trellises, of green and gold leaves and cab- 
bage roses. 

Down at Cape Jessamine undeniably there was happiness. 
Edward Gary's wound was not grave. It disabled, kept him lying, 
thin and pale, on the pallet which for light and air Desiree had 
dragged near to the cave entrance. But there was no fever. His 
superb, clean manhood told. The two of them kept bodily poise, and 
with it the mental. They were happy; a strange, personal happiness 
in the midst of menace and the gathering pubUc woe. It was not 
selfishness; they would have laid aside bliss itself like a gold mantle 



THE CAVE 163 

and gone down to lazar rags and the cold and dark forever if they 
could thereby have rescued their world. That could not be; they 
were here on a raft together in the midst of the ocean; they could 
only serve themselves and each other. They had had few days and 
hours together. The lover's passion was yet upon them; each to the 
other was plainly aureoled. He lay with the veil of ivy drawn back so 
that he might see the battle cloud. She tended him, she prepared their 
scanty food, she brought water at nightfall from the little spring. 
Sometimes she left him to go help awhile in the field hospital. But 
he was as badly hurt as many there; with a clear conscience she 
might choose to tend this wounded soldier. She did so choose. 

The hot days went by beneath the bowl of brass that was the sky. 
The murk came up to the cave, the steady thunder shook the ivy 
sprays. Desiree sat upon the earth beside the pallet. Sometimes 
they talked together, low- voiced; sometimes, in long silent spaces, 
they looked each on the aureoled other. He was most beautiful to 
her, and she to him. A faint splendour dwelled in the cave and 
over this part of the withered garden, a strange, transforming, 
golden light. They smelled the honeysuckle, they smelled the 
mignonette. They thought they heard the singing of the birds. 

On the twenty-sixth the mortars upon the Louisiana side began 
again to throw huge shells into the town, while the gunboats opened 
a rapid and heavy firing upon the lower batteries. This continued. 
On the twenty-eighth the grey exploded a mine before the lunette 
on the Baldwin's Ferry road, where the Federal sap was within six 
yards of the ditch. At point after point now, the blue line held that 
near the grey. At places the respective parapets were fearfully 
close. There was fighting with hand grenades, there was tossing 
of fire-balls against the sap rollers behind which worked the blue 
miners. 

Night attacks grew frequent; all the weakened grey soldiers lay 
on their arms; no one, day or night, could leave the trenches. The 
woimded, the fevered, the hunger-weakened, the sleepless — Vicks- 
burg's defenders grew half wraith, half scarecrow. 

In the dead night of the twenty-ninth, after five hours of a sultry 
and sullen stillness, every blue cannon appeared to open. From the 
Louisiana shore, from the river, from the land, north, east, and south, 
came the blast. 



1 64 CEASE FIRING 

Desiree parted the mat of ivy and watched with Edward from the 
mouth of the cave. 

"The twenty-ninth!" he said. "It is, I think, the beginning of 
the end. I doubt if we can hold out another week." 

She sat on the earth beside him, her head against the pillow. Lip 
and ear must be near together; at any distance the blast carried the 
voice away. "The beginning of the end. . . . You think General 
Johnston will not come?" 

"How can he? I saw the force that he had. It is not possible. He 
is right in refusing to play the dare-devil or to sacrifice for naught. 
He should have been listened to in the beginning." 

"And we cannot cut our way out?" 

"Evacuate? How many could march ten miles? No. Troy's 
down — Troy 's down! " 

"Richmond is Troy." 

"... That is true. Then this is one of the small Asian towns." 

Without the ivy sprays there was a red and awful light. They saw 
the world as by calcium. The stars were put out, but the flashes 
burnished the piled battle clouds. Bronze and copper and red 
gleamed the turreted fierce clouds. Below were now sharply shown, 
now hidden, the Vicksburg hnes, the heaped, earthen front. Redan 
and redoubt and lunette and the long ragged rifle-pits between, — 
now they showed and now the smoke drove between. 

"It repeats and repeats," said Edward. "Life's a labyrinth, and 
the clue broke at the beginning." 

"Love is the clue." 

"Love like ours? There must be many kinds of love." 

"Yes. But love in all its degrees. From love of thought to love of 
the snake that I saw again to-day. Love in all its degrees casting 
out hate in all its degrees. Love that lives and lets live. Love that is 
wise." 

"Is it always wise?" 

"It can be made so. All other clues will break like packthread." 

The light grew intenser. Houses in the town had been set afire. 
Air and earth shook, all the heavy, buried strings vibrated. Sound 
rolled against the ear like combers of a sea, deep, terrific, with a 
ground swell, with sudden, wild accesses as when world navies are 
wrecked. The smell of powder smoke gathered, familiar, familiar, 



THE CAVE 165 

familiar! Marching feet were heard, going down to the lines — the 
City Guard probably, called to come and help. 

"Packthread," said Edward. "All this to break like packthread 
and go out like flaming tow. . . . Love and Thought the sole 
weavers of relations. Love and Thought the related and the rela- 
tion. . . ." 

The rapid and heavy cannonading stopped with the amber dawn. 
The Federal sappers were again under the Third Louisiana Redan. 
They worked behind a timber-and-wire screen against which in vain 
the grey threw hand grenades and fire balls. Lockett, the chief 
engineer, had a barrel, filled with a himdred and twenty-five pounds 
of powder and carrying a time fuse of fifteen seconds, rolled over the 
parapet toward the blue shelter. The explosion sent the timber screen 
in a thousand fragments into the air; behind it there came a shouting 
and running. All this day there was heavy firing from the river. 

The morning of July first all division commanders received from 
General Pemberton a confidential note. It stated succinctly that 
apparently the siege of Vicksburg could not be raised and that sup- 
plies were exhausted. There remained an attempt at evacuation. 
The note asked for reports as to the condition of the troops and 
their ability to make the marches and endure the fatigues necessary 
to a successful issue. The major-generals put the note before the 
brigadiers, and the brigadiers before the colonels. There was but 
one answer. The morale of the men was good — yes ! and again yes ! 
But for the rest, for their physical condition, so hungry, so tired, so 
staggering from weakness . . . 

This was in the morning. At one in the afternoon of this first of 
July the enemy exploded their great mine under the Third Louisiana 
Redan. The fuse was lit, the fuse burned, the spark reached fifteen 
hundred pounds of powder. There was an awful, a rending explo- 
sion. Earth, defences, guns, men and men and men were blown high 
into the air. The Sixth Missouri suffered here. There was made 
a crater twenty feet deep and fifty across. The Third Louisiana 
Redan was no more. 

All day the second, a part of the day the third, the blue land bat- 
teries, the blue gunboats, the blue mortars bombarded Vicksburg. 
On the Fourth of July the place surrendered. 



CHAPTER XV 

GETTYSBURG 

THE sun of the first day of July rose serene into an azure sky 
where a few white clouds were floating. The light summer 
mist was dissipated; a mommg wind, freshly sweet, rippled 
the corn and murmured in the green and lusty trees. The sunshine 
gilded Little Round Top and Big Round Top, gilded Gulp's Hill and 
Cemetery Hill, gilded Oak Hill and Seminary Ridge. It flashed from 
the cupola of the Pennsylvania College. McPherson's Woods caught 
it on its topmost branches, and the trees of Peach Orchard. It trem- 
bled between, the leaves, and flecked with golden petals Menchey's 
Spring and Spangler's Spring. It lay in sleepy lengths on the Em- 
mitsburg road. It struck the boulders of the Devil's Den; it made 
indescribably light and fine the shocked wheat in a wheat-field that 
drove into the green like a triangular golden wedge. Full in the 
centre of the rich landscape it made a shining mark, a golden bull's- 
eye, of the small town of Gettysburg. 

It should have been all peace, that rich Pennsylvania landscape — 
a Dutch peace — a Quaker peace. Market wains and country folk 
should have moved upon the roads, and a boy, squirrel-hunting, 
should have been the most murderous thing in the Devil's Den. 
Corn-blades should have glistened, not bayonets; for the fluttering 
flags the farmers' wives should have been bleaching linen on the 
grass; for marching feet there should have risen the sound of the 
scythe in the wheat; for the groan of gun wheels upon the roads 
the robin's song and the bobwhite's call. 

The sun mounted. He was well above the tree-tops when the first 
shot was fired — Heth's brigade of A. P. Hill's corps encountering 
Buford's cavalry. 

The sun went down the first day red behind the hills. He visited 
the islands of the Pacific, Nippon, and the Kingdom of Flowers, and 
India and Iran. He crowned Caucasus with gold, and showered 
largess over Europe. He reddened the waves of the Atlantic. He 



GETTYSBURG 167 

touched with his spear lighthouses and coast towns and the inland 
green land. He came up over torn orchard and trampled wheat- 
field; he came up over the Round Tops and Gulp's Hill and Ceme- 
tery Hill. But no one, this second day, stopped to watch his rising. 
The battle smoke hid him from the living upon the slopes and in all 
the fields. 

The sun travelled from east to west, but no man on the shield 
of which Gettysburg was the centre saw him go down that second 
day. A thick smoke, like the wings of countless ravens, kept out the 
parting gleams. He went his way over the plains of the West and 
the Pacific and the Asian lands. He came over Europe and the Atlan- 
tic and made, on the third morning, bright pearl of the lighthouses, 
the surf, and the shore. The ripe July country welcomed him. But 
around Gettysburg his rising was not seen. The smoke had not dis- 
persed. He rode on high, but all that third day he was seen far away 
and dim as through crgpe. All day he shone serene on other lands, 
but above this region he hung small and dim and remote like a tarn- 
ished, antique shield. Sometimes the drift of ravens' wings hid him 
quite. But an incense mounted to him, a dark smell and a dark 
vapour. 

The birds were gone from the trees, the cattle from the fields, the 
children from the lanes and the brookside. All left on the first day. 
There was a hollow between Round Top and Devil's Den, and into 
this the anxious farmers had driven and penned a herd of cattle. On 
the sunny, calm afternoon when they had done this, they could not 
conceive that any battle would- affect this hollow. Here the oxen, 
the cows, would be safe from chance bullet and from forager. But the 
farmers did not guess the might of that battle. 

The stream of shells was directed against Round Top, but a num- 
ber, black and heavy, rained into the hollow. A great, milk-white ox 
was the first wounded. He lay with his side ripped open, a ghastly 
sight. Then a cow with calf was mangled, then a young steer had 
both fore legs broken. Bellowing, the maddened herd rushed here 
and there, attacking the rough sides of the hollow. Death and panic 
were upon the slopes as well as at the bottom of the basin. A burst- 
ing shell killed and wounded a dozen at once. The air grew thick 
and black, and filled with the cry of the cattle. 

A courier, returning to his general after delivering an order, had 



1 68 CEASE FIRING 

his horse shot beneath him. Disentangling himself, he went on, on 
foot, through a wood. He was intolerably thirsty — and lo, a 
spring! It was small and round and clear like a mirror, and as he 
knelt he saw his own face and thought, " She would n't know me." 
The minies were so continuously singing that he had ceased to heed 
them. He drank, then saw that he was reddening the water. He did 
not know when he had been wounded, but now, as he tried to rise, he 
grew so faint and cold that he knew that Death had met him. . . . 
There was moss and fern and a nodding white flower. It was n't a 
bad place in which to die. In a pocket within his grey jacket he had 
a daguerreotj^e — a young and smiling face and form. His fingers 
were so nerveless now that it was hard to get the little velvet case 
out, and when it was out it proved to be shattered, it and the picture 
within. The smiling face and form were all marred, unrecognizable. 
So small a thing, perhaps! — but it made the bitterness of this sol- 
dier's death. The splintered case in his hands, he died as goes to 
sleep a child who has been unjustly punished. His body sank deep 
among the fern, his chest heaved, he shook his head faintly, and 
then it dropped upon the moss, between the stems of the nodding 
white flower. 

A long Confederate line left a hillside and crossed an open space of 
corn-field and orchard. Double-quick it moved, under its banners, 
under the shells shrieking above. The guns changed range, and an 
iron flail struck the line. It wavered, wavered. A Federal line leaped 
a stone wall, and swept forward, under its banners, hurrahing. Mid- 
way of the wide open there was stretched beneath the murky sky a 
narrow web — woof of grey, warp of blue. The strip held while the 
heart beat a minute or more, then it parted. The blue edge went 
backward over the plain; the grey edge, after a moment, rushed 
after. " Yaaaiihkh I Yaaaiiihhhh 1" it shouted, — and its red war- 
flag glowed like fire. The grey commander-in-chief watched from a 
hillside, a steady light in his eyes. Over against him on another 
hill, Meade, the blue general, likewise watched. To the south, across 
the distant Potomac, lay the vast, beleaguered. Southern fortress. 
Its gate had opened; out had poured a vast sally party, a third of 
its bravest and best, and at the head the leader most trusted, most 
idolized. Out had rushed the Army of Northern Virginia. It had 
crossed the moat of the Potomac; it was here, on the beleaguer 's 
ground. 



GETTYSBURG 169 

Earth and heaven were shaking with the clangour of two shields. 
The sky was whirring and dim, but there might be imagined, sus- 
pended there, a huge balance — here the besiegers, here the fort- 
ress's best and bravest. Which would this day, or these days, tip the 
beam? Much hung upon that — all might be said to hang upon that. 
The waves on the plain rolled forward, rolled back, rolled forward. 
When the sun went down the first day the fortress's battle-flag was 
in the ascendant. 

A great red barn was the headquarters of " Dear Dick Ewell." He 
rode with Gordon and others at a gallop down a smoky road be- 
tween stone fences. "Wish Old Jackson was here! "he said. "Wish 
Marse Robert had Old Jackson! This is the watershed. General 
Gordon — yes, sir! this is the watershed of the war! If it does n't 
still go right to-day — It seems to me that wall there's got a sus- 
picious look — " 

The wall in question promptly justified the suspicion. There came 
from behind it a volley that emptied grey saddles. 

Gordon heard the thud of the minie as it struck "Old Dick." 
"Are you hurt, sir? Are you hurt?" 

"No, no, General! I'm not hurt. But if that ball had struck you, 
sir, we'd have had the trouble of carrying you off the field. I'm a 
whole lot better fixed than you for a fight ! It don't hurt a mite to be 
shot in a wooden leg." 

Three grey soldiers lay behind a shock of wheat. They were 
young men, old schoolmates. This wheat-shock marked the farthest 
point attained in a desperate charge made by their regiment against 
a larger force. It was one of those charges in which everybody sees 
that if a miracle happens it will be all right, and that if it does n't 
happen — It was one of those charges in which first an ofiBcer 
stands out, waving his sword, then a man or two follow him, then 
three or four more, then all waver back, only to start forth again, 
then others join, then the officer cries aloud, then, with a roar, the 
line springs forward and rushes over the field, in the cannon's 
mouth. Such had been the procedure in this charge. The miracle 
had not happened. After a period of mere din as of ocean waves the 
three found themselves behind this heap of tarnished gold. When, 
gasping, they looked round, all their fellows had gone back ; they saw 
them a distant torn line, still holding the flag. Then a rack of smoke 



lyo CEASE FIRING 

came between, hiding flag and all. The three seemed alone in the 
world. The wheat-ears made a low inner sound like reeds in quiet 
marshes. The smoke lifted just enough to let a muddy sunlight 
touch an acre of the dead. 

"We've got," said one of the young men, "to get out of here. 
They'll be countercharging in a minute." 

"O God! let them charge." 

"Harry, are you afraid — " 

"Yes; I'm afraid — sick and afraid. God, O God!" 

The oldest of the three, moving his head very cautiously, looked 
round the wheat-shock. "The Army of the Potomac's coming." 
He rose to his knees, facing the other way. " It 's two hundred yards 
to the regiment. Well, we always won the races at the old Academy. 
I'll start, Tom, and then you follow, and then you, Harry, you come 
straight along!" 

He rose to his feet, took the posture of a runner, drew a deep 
breath and started. Two yards from the shock a cannon ball sheared 
the head from the body. The body fell, jutting blood. The head 
bounded back within the shadow of the wheat-shock. Tom was 
already standing, bent like a bow. A curious sound came from his 
lips, he glanced aside, then ran. He ran as swiftly as an Indian, 
swiftly and well. The minie did not find him until he was halfway 
across the field. Then it did, and he threw up his arms and fell. 
Harry, on his hands and knees, turned from side to side an old, old 
face, bloodless and twisted. He heard the Army of the Potomac 
coming, and in front lay the corpses. He tried to get to his feet, but 
his joints were water, and there was a crowd of black atoms before 
his eyes. A sickness, a clamminess, a despair — and all in eternities. 
. . . Then the sound swelled, and it drove him as the cry of the 
hounds drives the hare. He ran, panting, but the charge now swal- 
lowed up the wheat-shock and came thundering on. In front was 
only the dead, piled at the foot of the wall of smoke. He still 
clutched his gun, and now with a shrill cry, he stopped, turned, and 
stood at bay. He had hurt a hunter in the leg, before the blue 
muskets clubbed him down. 

A regiment, after advancing a skirmish line, moved over broken 
and boulder-strewn ground to occupy a yet defended position. In 
front moved the colonel, half turned toward his men, encouraging 



GETTYSBURG 171 

them in a rich and hearty voice. " Come on, men ! Come on ! Come 
on! You are all good harvesters, and the grain is ripe, the grain is 
ripe! Come on, every mother's son of you! Run, now! just as 
though there were home and children up there! Come on! Come 
on!" 

The regiment reached a line of flat boulders. There was a large, 
flat one like an altar slab, that the colonel must spring upon and 
cross. Upon it, outstretched, face upward, in a pool of blood, lay a 
young figure, a lieutenant of skirmishers, killed a quarter of an hour 
ago. " Come on ! Come on ! " shouted the colonel, his face turned to 
his men. "Victory! To-night we'll write home about the victory!" 

His foot felt for the top edge of the boulder. He sprang upon it, 
and faced with suddenness the young dead. The oncoming line saw 
him stand as if frozen, then with a stiff jerk up went the sword again. 
" Come on ! Come on ! " he cried, and plunging from the boulder con- 
tinued to mount the desired slope. His men, close behind him, also 
encountered the dead on the altar slab. "Good God! It's Lieu- 
tenant — It's his son!" But in front the colonel's changed voice 
continued its crying, "Come on! Come on! Come on!" 

A stone wall, held by the grey, leaped fire, rattled and smoked. It 
did this at short intervals for a long while, a brigade of the enemy 
choosing to charge at like intervals. The grey's question was a ques- 
tion of ammunition. So long as the ammunition held out, so would 
they and the wall. They sent out foragers for cartridges. Four men, 
having secured a quantity from an impatiently sympathetic reserve, 
heaped them in a blanket, made a large bundle, and slung it midway 
of a musket. One man took the butt, another the muzzle, and as they 
had to reckon with sharpshooters going back, the remaining two 
marched in front. All double-quicked where the exposure was not 
extreme, and ran where it was. The echoing goal grew larger — as 
did also a clump of elms at right angles with the wall. Vanguard 
cocked its eye. " Buzzards in those trees, boys — blue buzzards ! " 

Vanguard pitched forward as he spoke. The three ran on. Ten 
yards, and the man who had been second and was now first, was 
picked off. The two ran on, the cartridges between them. "We're 
goners!" said the one, and the other nodded as he ran. 

There was a grey battery somewhere in the smoke, and now by 
chance or intention it flung into the air a shell that shrieked its way 



172 CEASE FIRING 

straight to the clump of elms, and exploded in the round of leaf and 
branch. The sharpshooters were stilled. "Moses and the pro- 
phets!" said the runners. "That's a last year's bird's nest!" 

Altogether the foragers brought in ammunition enough to serve 
the grey wall's immediate purpose. It cracked and flamed for an- 
other while, and then the blue brigade ceased its charges and went 
elsewhere. It went thinned — oh, thinned! — in numbers. The 
grey waited a little for the smoke to hft, and then it mounted the 
wall. "And the ground before us," says a survivor, "was the most 
heavenly blue!" 

A battalion of artillery, thundering across a comer of the field, 
went into position upon a little hilltop. Facing it was Cemetery Hill 
and a tall and wide-arched gateway. This gateway, now clearly 
seen, now withdrawn behind a world of grey smoke, now showing a 
half arch, an angle, a span of the crest, exercised a fascination. The 
gunners, waiting for the word, watched it. " Gate of Death, don't it 
look? — Gate of Death." — " Wonder what 's beyond? " — " Yank- 
ees." — "But they ain't dead — they're alive and kicking!" — 
"Now it's hidden — Gate of Death." — "This battle's going to 
lay over Sharpsburg. Over Gaines's Mill — over Malvern Hill — 
over Fredericksburg — over Second Manassas — over — " "The 
Gate's hidden — there's a battery over there going to open — " 
"One? there 's two, there 's three — " " Cannoneers, to your pieces 1 " 

A shell dug into the earth and exploded. There was a heavy rain 
of dark earth. It pattered against all the pieces. It showered men 
and horses, and for a minute made a thick twilight of the air. 
" Whew! the Earth's taking a hand! Anybody hurt? " — "Howitzer, 
load I" 

"Gate of Death's clear." 

An artillery lieutenant, — Robert Stiles, — acting as volunteer 
aide to Gordon, was to make his way across the battle-field with in- 
formation for Edward Johnson. The ground was strewn with the 
dead, the air was a shrieking torrent of shot and shell. The aide and 
his horse thought only of the thing in hand — getting across that 
field, getting across with the order. The aide bent to the horse's 
neck; the horse laid himself to the ground and raced like a wild 
horse before a prairie fire. The aide thought of nothing; he was go- 
ing to get the order there; for the rest his mind seemed as useless as 



GETTYSBURG 173 

a mirror with a curtain before it. Afterwards, however, when he had 
time to look he found in the mirror pictures enough. Among them 
was a picture of a battalion — Latimer's battalion. "Never, before 
or after, did I see fifteen or twenty guns in such a condition of wreck 
and destruction as this battalion was! It had been hurled back- 
ward, as it were by thie very weight and impact of metal, from the 
position it had occupied on the crest of a little ridge, into a saucer- 
shaped depression behind it; and such a scene as it presented! — guns 
dismounted and disabled, carriages splintered and crushed, ammuni- 
tion chests exploded, limbers upset, wounded horses plunging and 
kicking, dashing out the brains of men tangled in the harness; while 
cannoneers with pistols were crawling round through the wreck 
shooting the struggling horses to save the lives of the wounded 
men." 

Hood and his Texans and Law's Alabamians were trying to take 
Little Round Top. They drove out the line of sharpshooters behind 
the stone wall girdling the height. Back went the blue, up the steeps, 
up to their second line, behind a long ledge of rock. Up and after 
went the grey. The tall boulders split the advance like the teeth of a 
comb; no alignment could be kept. The rocks formed defiles where 
only two or three could go abreast. The way was steep and horrible, 
and from above rained the bullets. Up went the grey, reinforced now 
by troops from McLaws's division; up they went and took the second 
line. Back and up went the blue to the bald and rocky crest, to their 
third line, a stronghold, indeed, and strongly held. Up and on came 
the grey, but it was as though the sky were raining lead. The grey 
fell like leaves in November when the winds howl around Round 
Top. Oh, the boulders! The blood on the boulders, making them 
slippery! Oh, the torn limbs of trees, falling so fast! The eyes 
smarted in the smoke; the voice choked in the throat. All men were 
hoarse with shouting. 

Darkness and light went in flashes, but the battle odour stayed, and 
the unutterable volume of sound. All the dogs of war were baying. 
The muscles strained, the foot mounted. Forward and up went the 
battle-flag, red ground and blue cross. Now the boulders were foes, 
and now they were shields. Men knelt behind them and fired up- 
ward. Officers laid aside their swords, took the muskets from the 
dead, knelt and fired. But the crest of Round Top darted lightnings 



174 CEASE FIRING 

— lightnings and bolts of leaden death. Death rained from Round 
Top, and lie drops beat down the grey. Hood was badly hurt in 
the arm. Pender fell mortally wounded. Anderson was wounded. 
Semmes fell mortally wounded. Barksdale received here his death- 
wound. Amid the howl of the storm, in the leaden air, in scorching, 
in blood and pain and tumult and shouting, the small, unheeded 
disk of the sun touched the western rim of the earth. 

A wounded man lay all night in Devil's Den. There were other 
wounded there, but the great boulders hid them from one another. 
This man lay in a rocky angle, upon the overhanging lip of the place. 
Below him, smoke clung like a cerement to the far-flung earth. For 
a time smoke was about him, thick in his nostrils. For a time it hid 
the sky. But now all firing was stayed, the night was wheeling on, 
and the smoke lifted. Below, vague in the night-time, were seen 
flickering lights — torches, he knew, ambulances. Utter- bearers, 
lifting, serving one in a hundred. They were far away, scattered 
over the stricken field. They would not come up here to Devil's Den. 
He knew they would not come, and he watched them as the ship- 
wrecked watch the sail upon the horizon that has not seen their sig- 
nal, and that will not see it. He, shipwrecked here, had waved no 
cloth, but, idle as it was, he had tried to shout. His voice had fallen 
like a broken-winged bird. Now he lay, in a pool of his own blood, 
not greatly in pain, but dying. Presently he grew light-headed, 
though not so much so but that he knew that he was light-headed, 
and could from time to time reason with his condition. He was a 
reading man, and something of a thinker, and now his mind in its 
wanderings struck into all manner of by-paths. 

For a time he thought that the field below was the field of Water- 
loo. He remembered seeing, while it was yet light, a farmhouse, a 
distant cluster of buildings with a frightened air. "La Belle Alli- 
ance," he thought, "or Hougomont — which? — These Belgians 
planted a lot of wheat, and now there are red poppies all through it. 

— Where is Ney and his cavalry? — No, Stuart and his cavalry — " 
His mind righted for a moment. "This is a long battle, and a long 
night. Come, Death! Come, Death!" The shadowy line of boulders 
became a line of Deaths, tall, draped figures bearing scythes. Three 
Deaths, then a giant hour-glass, then three Deaths, then the hour- 
glass. He stared, fascinated, "Which scythe ? The one that starts 



GETTYSBURG 175 

out of line — now if I can keep them still in line — just so long will I 
live!" He stared for a while, till the Deaths became boulders again 
and his fingers fell to pla3mig with the thickening blood on the ground 
beside him. A meteor pierced the night — a white fire-ball thrown 
from the ramparts of the sky. He seemed to be rushing with it, 
rushing, rushing, rushing, — a rushing river. There was a heavy 
sovmd. As his head sank back he saw again the line of Deaths, and 
the one that left the line. 

Below, through the night, the wind that blew over the wheat- 
fields and the meadows, the orchards and the woods, was a moaning 
wind. It was a wind with a human voice. 

Dawn came, but the guns smeared her translucence with black. 
The sun rose, but the ravens' wings hid him. Dull red and sickly 
copper was this day, hidden and smothered by dark wreaths. 
Many things happened in it, variation and change that cast a tendril 
toward the future. 

Day drove on; sultry and loud and smoky. A squad of soldiers in 
a fence comer, waiting for the order forward, exchanged opinions. 
"Three days. We're going to fight forever — and ever — and 
ever." — "You may be. I ain't. I'm going to fight through to 
where there's peace — " "'Peace!' How do you spell it?" — 
"'They cry Peace! Peace! and there is no Peace!'" — "D'ye 
reckon if one of us took a bucket and went over to that spring there, 
he'd be shot?" — "Of course he would! Besides, where 's the 
bucket ?" — "I've got a canteen." — "I've got a cup — " "Say, 
Sergeant, can we go ?" — "No. You'll be killed." — "I'd just as 
soon be killed as to perish of thirst! Besides, a shell '11 come plump- 
ing'down directly and kill us anyhow." — " Talk of something pleas- 
ant." — "Jim's caught a grasshopper! Poor little hoppergrass, you 
ought n't to be out here in this wide and wicked world! Let him go, 
Jim." — "How many killed and wounded do you reckon there are? " 
— "Thirty thousand of us, and sixty thousand of them." — "I 
wish that smoke would lift so's we could see something!" — "Look 
out I Look out 1 Get out of this I " 

Two men crawled away from the crater made by the shell. A 
heavy tussock of grass in their path stopped them. One rose to his 
knees, the other, who was woimded, took the posture of the dying 
Gaul in the Capitoline. "Who are you?" said the one. — "I am 



176 CEASE FIRING 

Jim Dudley. Who are you?" — "I — I didn't know you, Jim. 
I'm Randolph. — Well, we're all that's left." 

The dead horses lay upon this field one and two and three days in 
the furnace heat. They were fearful to see and there came from 
them a fetid odour. But the scream of the wounded horses was worse 
than the sight of the dead. There were many wounded horses. 
They lay in wood and field, in country lane and orchard. No man 
tended them, and they knew not what it was all about. To and fro 
and from side to side of the vast, cloud-wreathed Mars's Shield 
galloped the riderless horses. 

At one of the clock all the guns, blue and grey, opened in a can- 
nonade that shook the leaves of distant trees. A smoke as of Vesu- 
vius or ^tna, sulphurous, pungent, clothed the region of battle. 
The air reverberated and the hills trembled. The roar was like the 
roar of the greatest cataract of a larger world, like the voice of a 
storm sent by the King of all the Genii. Amid its deep utterance 
the shout even of many men could not be heard. 

Out from the ranks of the fortress's defenders rushed a grey, 
world-famous charge. It was a division charging — three brigades 
en ichelon, — five thousand men, led by a man with long auburn 
locks. Down a hill, across a rolling open, up an opposite slope, — 
half a mile in all, perhaps, — lay their road. Mars and Bellona 
may be figured in the air above it. It was a spectacle, that charge, 
fit to draw the fierce eyes and warm the gloomy souls of all the war- 
rior deities. Woden may have watched and the Aztec god. The 
blue artillery crowned that opposite slope, and other slopes. The 
blue artillery swung every muzzle; it spat death upon the five thou- 
sand. The five thousand went steadily, grey and cool and clear, the 
vivid flag above them. A light was on their bayonets — the three 
lines of bayonets — the three brigades, Garnett and Kemper and Ar- 
mistead. A light was in the eyes of the men; they saw the fortress 
above the battle clouds; they saw their homes, and the watchers 
upon the ramparts. They went steadily, to the eyes of history in 
a curious, unearthly light, the light of a turn in human affairs, the 
Ught of catastrophe, the light of an ending and a beginning. 

When they came into the open between the two heights, the 
massed blue infantry turned every rifle against them. There poured 
a leaden rain of death. Here, too, the three Unes met an enfilading 



GETTYSBURG 177 

fire from the batteries on Round Top. Death howled and threw 
himself against the five thousand; m the air above might be heard 
the Valkyries calling. There were not now five thousand, there were 
not now four thousand. There was a clump of trees seen like spectres 
through the smoke. It rose from the slope which was the grey goal, 
from the slope peopled by Federal batteries, with a great Federal 
infantry support at hand. Toward this slope, up this slope, went 
Pickett's charge. 

Gamett fell dead. Kemper and Trimble were desperately 
wounded. Save Pickett himself, all mounted officers were down. 
The men fell — the men fell; Death swung a fearful scythe. There 
were not now four thousand, there were not now three thousand. 
And still the vivid flag went on; and still, high, thrilling, clear and 
dauntless, rose from Pickett's charge the "rebel yell." 

There was a stone wall to cross. Armistead, his hat upon the 
point of his waved sword, leaped upon the coping. A bullet pierced 
his breast; he fell, was captured, and the next day died. By now, 
by now the charge was whittled thin! Oh, thick as the leaves of 
Vallombrosa, the fortress's dearest and best lay upon that slope 
beneath the ravens' wings! On went the thin, fierce ranks, on and 
over the wall, on and up, into the midst of the enemy's guns. The 
two flags strained toward each other; the hands of the grey were 
upon the guns of the blue; there came a wild melee. . . . There 
were not two thousand now, and the guns were yet roaring, and 
the blue infantry gathered from all sides. . . . 

"The smoke," says one Luther Hopkins, a grey soldier who was 
at Gettysburg, "the smoke rose higher and higher and spread wider 
and wider, hiding the sun, and then, gently dropping back, hid from 
human eyes the dreadful tragedy. But the battle went on and on, 
and the roar of the guns continued. After a while, when the sun was 
sinking to rest, there was a hush. The noise died away. The winds 
came creeping back from the west, and gently lifting the coverlet of 
smoke, revealed a strange sight. The fields were all carpeted, a 
beautiful carpet, a costly carpet, more costly than Axminster or 
velvet. The figures were horses and men all matted and woven 
together with skeins of scarlet thread." 



CHAPTER XVI 

BACK HOME 

IF he who ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a 
city, Robert E. Lee was a general doubly great. The gallantry 
of the three days' fighting at Gettysburg he left like a golden 
light, like a laurel wreath, with his men. The responsibility for 
Gettysburg, its strategy and its tactics, he laid with quietness upon 
his own shoulders and kept it there. In the last hour of the third 
day, after the last great charge, after Pickett's charge, when the 
remnant that was left was streaming back, he rode into the midst of 
that thin grey current. He sat Traveller, in the red light, in the 
murk and sorrow of the lost battle, and called upon the men to re- 
form. Pickett came by, his sword out, his long auburn hair dank 
with sweat. "Get your men together, General," said Lee. "They 
did nobly. It is all my fault." 

If the boyishness in Jeb Stuart, his dear love of dancing meteors, 
had swept him in the past weeks too far from his proper base, he was 
now fully and to the end by his general's side. He kept his gaiety, 
his panache, but he put on the full man. He was the Stuart of Chan- 
cellorsville, throwing a steady dart, swinging a great shield. Long- 
street, the "old war horse"; A. P. Hill, red-shirted, a noble fighter; 
"Dear Dick Ewell" — each rose, elastic, from the disastrous field 
and played the man. That slow retreat from Gettysburg to the 
Potomac, through a hostile country, with a victorious, larger army 
hovering, willing to strike if only it could find the unguarded place, 
was masterly planned, masterly done. The Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia retired grudgingly, with backward turnings, foot planted and 
spear brandished. It had with it pain and agony, for it carried its 
wounded; it had with it appalling knowledge that Vicksburg was 
fallen, that the battle behind them, hard-fought for three days, was 
lost, that the campaign was lost, that across the river the South was 
mourning, mourning, that at last all were at the death-grapple. It 
knew it all, but it went steadily, with lips that could yet manage a 



BACK HOME 179 

smile. For all its freight of wounded, for all the mourning of its 
banners, it went ably; a long, masterly retreat, with effective stands 
and threatenings. But how the wounded suffered, only the wounded 
knew. 

The rain came down as it usually did after the prolonged cannon- 
adings of these great battles. It came down in sullen torrents, un- 
friendly, cold, deepening the deep reaction after the fever of the 
fight. It fell in showers from a sky leaden all the day, inky all the 
night. At twilight on the fourth, A. P. Hill and the Third Corps 
swung in silence out upon the Fountain Dale and Monterey road. 
They marched away in the rain and darkness. All night Longstreet 
and the First stayed in position at the Peach Orchard. But the foe 
did not attack, and at dawn Longstreet and the First followed A. P. 
Hill. When the dawn broke, grey and wet, Ewell and the Second 
Corps alone were there by Seminary Ridge. Again the blue — 
they also gathering their wounded, they also mourning their dead 
— made no movement to attack. Ewell and the Second followed 
the First. 

The rain came down, the rain came down — rain and wind and 
low-hanging clouds. Forty thousand men marched in a silence 
which, now and then, it was felt, must be broken. Men broke it, 
with song that had somehow a sob in it, with laughter more strained 
than jovial. Then came down the silence again, leaden with the 
leaden rain. But march in silence, or march in mirth, the Army of 
Northern Virginia marched with its morale unbroken. Tramp, 
tramp! through thp shifting sheets of rain, through the wind that 
bent the tree-tops. . . . With Hood's division marched four thou- 
sand and more of Federal prisoners. With these, too, the silence 
was heavy. 

But there was not silence when it came to the fearful train of the 
wounded. Fifteen miles, along the Chambersburg Pike, stretched 
the train of the wounded and of ordnance and supply wagons, with 
its escort of cavalry and a score of guns. The convoy was in the 
charge of Imboden, and he was doing the best he could with those 
long leagues of hideous woe. The road was rough; the night dark^ 
with wind and rain. " Woe ! " cried the wind. " Woe, woe ! Pain and 
woe!" 

Ambulances, carts, wagons, crowded with the wounded, went 



i8o CEASE FIRING 

joltingly, under orders to use all speed. Cavalry rode before, cavalry 
guarded the rear, but few were the actual guards in among or along- 
side the wagons. Vanguard and rear guard needed every unhurt 
man. For miles there were, in sum, only the wounded, the jaded 
wagon horses, the wagon drivers with drawn faces. Orders were for 
no pausing, no halts. If a wagon became disabled, draw it out of the 
road and leave it! There must be rapid travelling through the night. 
Even so, if the blue were alert, the blue might strike the train before 
day. Rapid motion and no halting — "On ! " beneath the blackness, 
in the teeth of wind and rain. "Woe!"cried the wind. "Woe, woe! 
Pain and woe!" 

The wagons were springless. In many there was no straw. Num- 
bers of the wounded lay upon bare boards, placed there, in some 
cases, hours even before the convoy could start. Many had had no 
food for long hours, no water. Their rough clothing, stiff with dried 
blood, abraded and inflamed their wounds. The surgeons had done 
what bandaging was possible, but many a ghastly hurt went un- 
bound, unlocked to. With others the bandages slipped, or were torn 
aside by pain-maddened hands. There was blood upon the bed of 
all the wagons, blood and human refuse. Upon the boards lay men 
with their eyes gone, with their jaws shot through and crushed, with 
their arms, their legs mangled, with their thighs pierced, their bow- 
els pierced, with tormenting stomach wounds, with a foot gone, a 
hand gone. There were men with fever and a horrible thirst, and 
men who shook in a death chill. There were men who were dead. 
And on them all poured the rain, for the canvas wagon covers, 
flapping in the wind, could not keep it out. And the road, cut by 
countless wheels and now washed into ridge and hollow, would have 
been rough for well folk, in cushioned vehicles. " On ! On ! No halt- 
ing for any one! — Good God, man! Don't I know they are suffer- 
ing? Don't I hear them? Do you reckon I like to hear them? But 
if I'm going to save General Lee's trains I've got to get on! Get 
on, there I" "Woe!" cried the wind. "Woe, woe! pain and woe." 

"Oh, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me!" 

"Just let me die, O God! just let me die!" 

" If there 's anybody at all outside, won't they stop this wagon? If 
there's anybody driving, won't you stop this wagon? Please! You 
don't know how it hurts — Please! . . . Ah! — Aaahhl — Aaahhh!" 



BACK HOME i8i 

"Curse you! — Curse war! — Curse living and dying! Curse 
God! Ah\ — Akhhl — Aaahhkl" 

"For God's sake! just lift us out and let us die lying still, on the 
roadside. . . . O God! God!" 

"OGod! OGod!" 

"I am dying! I am dying! . . . Mary, Mary, Mary! Lift me 
up!" 

"We are dying! We are dying!" 

"O Jesus of Nazareth — " 

"During this one night," says Imboden, "I realized more of the 
horrors of war than I had in all the two preceding years." 

The Second Corps, marching by the Fairfield road, marched in 
rain and wind and weariness. Ewell, wooden-legged now, irascible, 
heroic, sighing for "Old Jackson," handling his corps as "Old 
Jackson " would have approved, rode in front. Jubal Early, strange 
compound but admirable fighter, — Jubal Early guarded the rear 
with the brigades of Hoke and Smith and Gordon and Harry Hays. 
Between were Rodes's division — Iverson and Daniels, Dole, Ram- 
seur and O'Neal — and "Alleghany" Johnson's division — Steuart 
and Jones and Nicholls and the Stonewall Brigade. With each 
division heavily moved upon the road its artillery — Charlottesville 
Artillery, Staunton Artillery, Louisiana Guard Artillery, Courtney 
Artillery, King William Artillery, Orange Artillery, Morris Artillery, 
Jeff Davis Artillery, Chesapeake Artillery, Alleghany Artillery, 
First Maryland Battery, Lee Battery, Powhatan Artillery, Salem 
Artillery, Rockbridge Artillery, Third Richmond Howitzers, Second 
Richmond Howitzers, Amherst Artillery, Fluvanna Artillery, Mil- 
ledge's Georgia Battery. 

The Stonewall Brigade bent its head and took the blast. The rain 
streamed from the slanted forest of rifle barrels; the wind blew out 
the ofiScer's capes; the colours had to be furled against it. All the 
colours were smoke-darkened, shot-riddled. The Stonewall was a 
veteran brigade. It had an idea that it had been engaged in war 
since the rains first came upon the earth. Walker, its general, a 
good and gallant man, plodded at its head, his hat brim streaming 
wet, his horse's breath making a little cloud. Tramp ! tramp ! be- 
hind him marched the Stonewall — a long, swinging gait, a "foot 
cavalry" gait. 



1 8a CEASE FIRING 

The Sixty-fifth Virginia, Colonel Erskine, covered the way with a 
mountain stride. It was nearing now the pass of the South Moun- 
tain, and its road lay uphill. It had done good service at Gettys- 
burg, and it had its wounded in that anguished column over on 
the Chambersburg Pike. It had left its dead upon the field. Now, 
climbing the long hills, colours slanted forward, keen, bronzed faces 
slanted forward, man and beast streaming rain and all battling with 
the gusty wind, the Sixty-fifth missed its dead, missed its wounded, 
knew that the army had suffered defeat, knew that the high hopes 
of this campaign lay in ashes, knew that these days formed a crisis 
in the war, knew that all the sky had darkened over the South, 
knew that before it lay grim struggle and a doubtful end. The units 
of the Sixty-fifth knew many things that in the old piping time of 
peace they had never thought to know. 

The grain in the fields was all broken down, the woods clashed 
their branches, through flawed sheets of dull silver the distant moun- 
tain crests were just divined. The wind howled like a banshee, and 
for all that it was July the air was cold. The Sixty-fifth thought of 
other marches. Before McDowell — Elk Run Valley — that was 
bad. Elk Run Valley was bad. Before Mechanicsville — coming 
down from Beaver Dam Station — that was bad. Bath to Romney 

— that was worst. . . . We 've had plenty of bad marches — plenty 
of marches — plenty of heroic marches. We are used to marching 

— used to marching . . . Marching and fighting — marching and 
fighting. . . . 

Tall and lean and tanned, the Thunder Run men opposed the 
wind from the mountains. Allan Gold and Sergeant Billy Maydew 
exchanged observations. 

"I would n't be tired," said Billy, "going up Thunder Rim Moun- 
tain. I air not tired anyhow." 

"No, there's no help in being tired. ... I hope that Tom and 
Sairy are dry and warm — " 

"I don't mind wet," said Billy, " and I don't mind cold, and I can 
tighten my belt when I 'm hungry, but the thing that air hard for me 
to stand air going without sleep. I tell my will to hold hard and I 
put tobacco in my eyes, but sleep sure air a hard thing for me to go 
without. I could sleep now — I could sleep — I could sleep . . . 
Yes; I hope all Thunder Run air dry and warm — Mr. Cole and Mrs. 



BACK HOME 183 

Cole and Mother and Christianna and Violetta and Rosalinda and 
the chfldren and Grandpap and the dawgs and Steve Dagg — No; 
I kinder hope Steve air wet and whimpering. . . . Thunder Run 's 
a long way off. I could go to sleep — and sleep — and sleep . • ." 

"I'm not sleepy," said Allan. "But I wish I had a pitcher of 
milk—" 

The Sixty-fifth determined to try singing. 

"O my Lawd, whar you gwine? 
Keep in de middle ob de road! 
Gwine de way dat Moses trod, 
Keep in de middle ob de road — " 

"The butcher had a little dog, 
And Bingo was his name. 
BB-i-n-g-o-go! B-i-n-g-o-go! 
And Bingo was his name — " 

Toward four o'clock, as the head of the column neared Fairfield, 
came from the rear a burst of firing ^- musketry, then artillery. 
There was a halt, then the main body resumed the march. Early, 
, in the rear, deployed Gordon's brigade and fought back the long skir- 
mish line of the pursuing blue. Throughout the remainder of the 
afternoon there was fitful firing — sound, water-logged like all else, 
rising dully from the rear. Down came the night, dark as a bat's 
wing. The Second Corps bivouacked a mile from Fairfield, and, 
waking now and then in the wet and windy night, heard the rear 
guard repelling half-hearted attacks. 

Reveille echoed among the hills. The Second rose beneath a still 
streaming sky. The Stonewall, camped on a hillside, sought for 
wood for its fires and found but little, and that too wet to burn. It 
was fortimate, perhaps, that there was so little to cook. The Sixty- 
fifth squatted around a dozen pin-points of light and did its best 
with the scrapings of its commissary. " Well, boys, the flesh pots of 
Egypt have given us the go-by! D' ye remember that breakfast at 
Greencastle? Oohh ! Was n't it good? "... " Hold your hat over 
the fire or it'll go out!" ... "I wish we had some coffee . . ." 
"Listen at Gordon, way back there, popping away at Yanks! — 
Did you hear about his men burning fence rails ? No ? — well, 
'twas out beyond York. 'Men!' says Marse Robert's General 
Order, 'don't tech a thing!' 'AH right, Marse Robert!' says we, as 



1 84 CEASE FIRING 

you can testify. Gordon's as chivalrous as Young Lochinvar, or 'A 
Chieftain to the Highlands Bound,' or Bayard, or any of them fel- 
lows. So he piles on an order, too. 'Don't touch a thing! especially 
not the fences. Gather your wood where Nature has flung it ! ' Well, 
those Georgia boys had to camp that night where Nature had n't 
flung any wood — neither Cedar of Lebanon nor darned pawpaw 
bush! Just a nice bare field with rail fences — our kind of fences. 
Nice, old, dry, seasoned rails. Come along Gordon, riding magnifi- 
cently. 'General, the most wood around here is musket stocks, and 
of course we ain't going to bum them ! Can't we take just a /ero 
rails? ' ' Boys,' says Gordon, being like a young and handsome father 
to his men. 'Boys, you can take the top rail. That will leave the 
fences high enough for the farmer's purposes. Now, mind me I don't 
lay your hand on anything but the top rail ! ' And off he goes, look- 
ing like a picture — leaf of Round Table, or what not. Whereupon 
company by company marched up and each tookin turn the top rail." 

"Must have been an all-fired lasting top rail — " 

" — And they had supper and went to bed cheered and com- 
forted. And by and by, in the morning, just after reveille, comes 
Gordon, fresh as a daisy. And he looks at the boundaries of that 
field, and he colours up. 'Men,' he says in a kind of grieved anger, 
'you have disobeyed orders!' Whereupon those innocents rose up 
and assured him that not a man had touched anything but a top 
rail!" 

Fall in I Fall in I Column Forward ! 

It rained, and rained. You saw the column as through smoke, 
winding toward the pass of the South Mountain. From the rear 
came fitfully the sound of musketry. But there was no determined 
pursuit. Early kept the rear; Stuart, off in the rain and mist, lion- 
bold, and, throughout the long retreat to the fortress, greatly saga- 
cious, guarded the flanks. A. P. Hill and Longstreet were now be- 
yond the mountains, swinging southward by the Ringgold road. 
With the First and the Third rode Lee, grey on grey Traveller, in 
the grey rain, his face turned homeward, turned toward the fortress 
of the South, vast, mournful, thenceforth trebly endangered. It was 
the sixth of July. A year ago had been the Seven Days. 

Back on the road of the wounded there was trouble. Imboden, 
having crossed the mountain, determined upon a short cut by a 



BACK HOME 185 

country road to Greencastle. On through the small town rode the 
vanguard, the Eighteenth Virginia Cavalry. Behind, as rapidly as 
might be, came the immense and painful train. On the outskirts of 
the place a band of civilians attacked a weakly guarded portion of 
the column. They had axes, and with these they hewed in two the 
wagon yokes or cut the spokes from the wheels. The wagon beds 
dropped heavily upon the earth. "Ahht" groaned the wounded. 
"Ahhh! Aaaakh!" 

Back in wrath came a detachment of the Eighteenth, scattering 
or capturing the wielders of axes. The long train passed Greencastle. 
Before it lay the road to Williamsport, the road to the Potomac. The 
rain was streaming, the wind howling, and now the Federal cavalry 
made its appearance. All the rest of the day the train was subjected 
to small sudden attacks, descents now on this section, now on that. 
The grey escort, cavalry and artillery, beat them off like stinging 
bees; the grey wagoners plied their long whips, the exhausted horses 
strained forward yet again, under the wagon wheel was felt again 
the ridge and hollow of the storm-washed road. " Woe! " cried the 
wind. "Woe, woe! Pain and woe!" 

There came a report that blue troops held Williamsport, but when 
late in a stormy afternoon the head of Imboden's column came to 
this place, so known by now, frontier, with only the moat of the 
river between the foe's territory and the fortress's territory, — when 
the advance rode into town, there were found only peaceful Mary- 
landers. The grey convoy occupied Williamsport. At last the tor- 
turing wagons stopped, at last the moaning hurt were lifted out, at 
last the surgeons could help, at last the dead were parted from the 
living. Imboden requisitioned all the kitchens of the place. There 
arose a semblance of warmth, a pale ghost of cheer. Here and there 
sounded even a weak laugh. 

"Say, Doctor! after hell, purgatory seems kind of good to us! 
That was hell back there on the road — hell if ever there was hell 
. . . Ouch! . . . Ooooghh! Doctor 1" 

"Doctor, do you reckon I'll live to get across? I want to see my 
wife — I want to see her so badly. — There's a boy, too, and I've 
never seen him — " 

"How air we going to get across ? Air there boats?" 

"Who's keepingtheYankees away? Jeb Stuart? That's good. . . . 



1 86 CEASE FIRING 

Oh, Doctor, you ain't going to cut it off? Please, Doctor, please, sir, 
don't! No, it won't mortify — I'm just as sure of that! Please just 
put it in splints. It ain't so badly hurt — it ain't hurting me hardly 
any. . . . Doctor, Doctor! for God's sake! — Why, I could n't walk 
anymore! — why, I'd have to leave the army! . . . Doctor, please 
don't — please don't cut it off, sir. . . ." 

The rain came down, the rain came down, a drenching, sullen 
storm. Wide, yellow, and swollen rolled the Potomac before Wil- 
liamsport. Imboden procured several flatboats, and proceeded to 
the ferrying across of those of the more slightly wounded who 
thought that once in Virginia they might somehow get to Winchester. 
In the midst of this work came news of the approach of a large 
force of Federal cavahy and artillery — Buford and Kilpatrick's 
divisions hurrying down from Frederick. 

Imboden posted every gun with him on the heights between the 
town and the river. Hart, Eshleman, McClanahan — all faced the 
eighteen rifled guns with which presently the blue opened. A sharp 
artillery battle followed, each side firing with rapidity and some 
effect. Imboden had his cavalry and in addition seven hundred 
wagoners organized into companies and headed by commissaries, 
quartermasters, and several wounded officers. These wagoners did 
mightily. This fight was called afterwards "The Wagoners' Battle." 
Five blue cavalry regiments were thrown forward. The Eighteenth 
Virginia Cavalry and the Sixty-second Virginia Mounted Infantry 
met them with clangour in the rain-filled air. McNeill's Partisan 
Rangers came to the aid of the wagoners down by the river. Eshle- 
man's eight Napoleons of the Washington Artillery, Hart's and Mc- 
Clanahan's and Moore's batteries poured shot and shell from the 
heights. Through the dusk came at a gallop a courier from Fitzhugh 
Lee. "Hold out, General Imboden! We're close at hand!" From 
the direction of the Hagerstown road broke a clap of war thunder, 
rolling among the hills. " Horse Artillery ! Horse Artillery!" yelled 
Imboden's lines, the Eighteenth, the Sixty-second, the Partisan 
Rangers, and the Wagoners. Yaaaihh! Yaaaaihhl Yaaaaaaihhhl 
Forward 1 Charge 1 

July the seventh broke wet and stormy. The' First and Third 
Corps were now at Hagerstown. Ewell and the Second nearer South 
Mountain, yet watchfully regarding the defiles through which might 



BACK HOME 187 

pour the pursmt. But Meade had hesitated, hesitated. It was only 
on the afternoon of the fifth that a move southward was begun in 
earnest. The Sixth Corps, on the same road with Ewell, struck now 
and again at the grey rear guard, but the rest of the great blue army 
hung imcertain. Only on the seventh did it pour southward, through 
the country between the Monocacy and the Antietam. In the dusk 
of this day Lee met Stuart and ordered an attack at dawn. Time 
must be gained while a bridge was built across the swollen river. 

All day the eighth the heavy air carried draggingly the soimd of 
cannon. So drowned with rain were the fields and meadows that 
manoeuvring there was manoeuvring in quagmires. The horsemen 
of both sides must keep to the roads, deep in mire as were these. 
Dismovmted, they fought with carbines in all the sopping ways, 
while from every slight rise the metal duellists barked at one another. 
At last the Fifth Confederate Brigade drove the Federal left, and 
the rimning fight and the long wet day closed with one gleam of light 
in the west. 

On Jvly the ninth the Army of Northern Virginia occupied a 
ten-mile line from the Potomac at Mercersville to the Hagerstown 
and Williamsport road. A. P. Hill held the centre, Longstreet the 
right, Ewell the left, stretching toward Hagerstown. Forty thou- 
sand infantry and artillery stood ready. Stuart with eight thousand 
horsemen drew off to the north, watching like a falcon, ready for the 
pounce. The rain ceased to fall. A pale sunshine bathed the country, 
and in it gleamed the steel of the Army of Northern Virginia. The 
banners grew vivid. 

All day Lee waited in line of battle, but Meade was yet hesitant. 
The tenth dawned, and Stuart sent word that the Army of the 
Potomac was advancing through the defiles of South Mountain, 
All this day the grey dug trenches and heaped breastworks. The 
sun shone, ill was forgotten; hope sprang, nourished by steadfast- 
ness. There were slight cavalry encounters. The night of the tenth 
was a warm and starry one. The grey slept and rose refreshed. 
Ewell and the Second now left Hagerstown. Each corps commanded 
one of the three roads glimmering eastward, and Stuart patrolled all 
the valley of the Antietam. Lee had laid his pontoon bridge across 
to Falling Waters. All night long there passed into Virginia the 
wounded and a great portion of the trains. 



1 88 CEASE FIRING 

July twelfth was a day of cloud and mist. Still the grey waited; 
still Meade, with his sixty-five thousand infantry and artillery, his 
ten thousand cavalry, hung irresolute. Kelly at Hancock had eight 
thousand men. He could be trusted to flank the grey. And in the 
rear of the grey was the river, turbid, wide, deep, so swollen as 
hardly to be fordable. Halleck telegraphed Meade from Washing- 
ton peremptory orders to attack. But the twelfth passed with only 
slight encounters between recormoitring parties. 

On the thirteenth down came the rain again, a thick, cold, shifting 
veil of wet. Again Meade stayed in his tents. The Army of the Poto- 
mac understood that on the morrow it would attack. In the mean 
time reinforcements were at hand. 

That night, in the rainy dusk, Stuart drew a cordon between the 
opposed forces. Behind the screen of horsemen, behind the impen- 
etrable, rainy night, the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to re- 
cross the Potomac. Beneath the renewed rains the river was steadily 
rising; it was go now, or abide the onset of the sixty-five thousand 
along the Antietam and on the Sharpsburg Pike, with Kelly's eight 
thousand marching from Hancock, and other troops on the road from 
Chambersburg. Down came the rain and the night was Egyptian 
black. 

The artillery and the balance of the trains must cross by the pon- 
toon bridge. Bonfires were built on the northern and the southern 
bank, but all the wood was wet, and the flickering light proved deceit- 
ful as any darkness. The rolling smoke mounted and overhung the 
landings like genii from Arabian bottles. With sullen noise the guns 
crossed, hour after hour of sullen noise. The wagons with the 
wounded crossed. A heavy wagon, in which the badly hurt were laid 
thick, missed its way, and, with its horses, went blindly over the 
side into the rushing water, where all were drowned. After the guns 
and the wagons came the men of Longstreet's corps. Dawn found 
the First not yet over-passed, while the Third waited on the pebbly 
stretch between the water and the hills. In the mean time Ewell and 
the Second had undertaken the ford. 

That which, a month before, had been a pleasant summer river, — 
clear, wide, and tranquil, not deep, and well known by now to the 
Second Corps, — was to-night a monster of the dark, a mill-race of 
the Titans. The heaped wood set afire on either bank lit the water 



BACK HOME 189 

but a few yaxds outward. Between the several glares was darkness 
shot with rain, shaken by wind. And always the bonfires showed 
thronging men, a broad moving ribbon rimning upwards and back 
from the water's edge, and between these two throngs a void and 
blackness. It was like a vision of the final river — a great illus- 
tration out of "Pilgrim's Progress." Company by company went 
down into the river; company by company slowly mounted on the 
farther side, coming up from the water into strange light, beneath 
tall shadowy trees. The water was up to the armpits. It was 
cold and rushing water. The men tied their cartridge boxes around 
their necks; they held their muskets above their heads; now and 
again a short man was carried across upon the shoulders of a tall 
and strong man. Sergeant Billy Maydew carried Lieutenant Cofl5n 
across thus. 

The Sixty-fifth kept its cartridges dry, held its muskets high. It 
had crossed into Maryland with song and joke and laughter, step- 
ping easily through water to the mid- thigh, clear water, sparkling 
in the sun. It returned into Virginia through a high and stormy 
water, beneath a midnight sky. The sky of its fortunes, too, was 
dark. There was no singing to-night; each man, breasting the flood, 
needed all his wits merely to cross. The red light beat upon the 
Sixty-fifth going down from the Maryland shore, rank after rank, 
entering the water in a column of three. Rank by rank, the darkness 
swallowed it up, officers and men, colonel, lieutenant-colonel, cap- 
tains, lieutenants, the chaplain, the surgeons, the noncommissioned 
officers, all the men, Thunder Run men, men from the moxmtaui- 
ous Upper Valley counties, — all the Sixty-fifth, rank by rank 
dipped out of the light into the darkness. The darkness swallowed 
the regiment, then the darkness gave it again to the light on the 
Virginia shore. Up to the gate of the fortress, through the red 
flare of torches, came the Sixty-fifth. A man with a great rich, deep 
voice, broke into song in the night-time, in the wind and rain, as he 
came up beneath the sycamores. He sang "Dixie," and the Sixty- 
fifth sang it with him. 

All night, endlessly across the river, out of light iato darkness, 
then into light again, came the slowly unwinding ribbon of the regi- 
ments. All night the Second Corps was crossing by the ford as all 
night the First was crossing by the imstable bridge of boats. In the 



I90 CEASE FIRING 

grey morning there crossed A. P. Hill and the Third. The last 
brigade was Lane's North Carolinians. It made the passage, and 
then Stuart drew his thousands steadily to the waterside. Meade's 
advance, Kilpatrick and Buford, saw from the hill-tops the river 
dark with swimming horsemen. 



CHAPTER XVII 

BREAD CAST ON WATER 

PRISON X had a catechism which it taught all the newly arrived 
Question. Where are we ? 
Answer. In the North. 
Q. Do we find the North interesting ? 
Ans. We do not. 

Q. Where is the country of our preference ? 
Ans. South of the Potomac. 
Q. Do we find this prison pleasing ? 
Ans. We do not. 
Q. Have we an object in life ? 
Ans. We have. 
Q. What is it? 
Ans. To get out. 
Q. Again? 
Ans. To get out. 
Q. Agam? 

Ans. To get out — and stay out. 
Q. Both are difficult? 
Ans. Both are difficult. 
Q. Have all apparent ways been tried ? 
Ans. All apparent ways have been tried. 
Q. Uprisings, timnels, sawing window bars, bribing guards, tak 
ing a corpse's place, etc., have all been tried ? 
Ans. They have all been tried. 
Q. And they have failed ? 
Ans. They have failed. 
Q. What is to be done ? 
Ans. I do not know. 
Q. Have you an object in life ? 
Ans. I have an object in life. 
Q. What is it? 



192 CEASE FIRING 

Ans. To get out — and stay out. 

Q. To get South? 

Ans. To get South. 

Maury Stafford was not a newcomer, but the substance of this 
catechism was graved in his mind and daily life and actions. He had 
passed the stage of violently beating against the bars, and had passed 
the stage of melancholia, and the stage of listlessly sitting in what 
fleck of sunshine might be foimd in winter, or hand's breadth of 
shade in summer. He had settled into the steady stage, the second 
wind. He knew well enough that, though it might last the longest, 
this stage, too, would expire. When it did, it might not come again. 
He had seen it expire in others and it had not come again. He had 
seen the dead moon of hope that followed, the mere continuance of 
breathing in a life of shards and weeds. He had seen the brain grow 
sick in the hands of the will; he had seen the wrists of the will broken 
across. ... He meant to make the steady stage last, last, last! — 
outlast his last day in Prison X. 

The August day was hot — almost the hottest, said the papers, 
on record. Prison X was careful now not to have too many prisoners 
at once in the prison yard. But to-day the heat seemed to breed 
humanity; at any rate, there came an order that a fair number of 
rebels at once might go out into the air. In the oflScers' yard as many 
as fifty were permitted to gather at a time. The small, sunbaked, sor- 
did place looked west. At this hour of the morning it was in the 
prison's shadow, and cooler than it would be later in the day. 

Some of the grey prisoners walked up and down, up and down; 
others sat alone, or in twos and threes, in the shadow of the wall. 
There was talk, but not loud talking. There was no briskness in the 
yard, no crisp bubbling of word and action. Languor reigned, and 
all the desirable lay without the walls. One tree-top showed above 
them, just the bushy head of an airy, mocking giant. 

At ten, the yard being filled, there came in through the gate, where 
were double guards, three or four oflScers in blue and a CathoUc priest. 
The yard knew the inspecting oflScers, and bestirred itself to only a 
perfimctory recognition — perfunctory, not listless; it being a point 
of honour not to look listless or broken in presence of the opposing 
colour. One of these blue oflBcers the yard liked very well, a bluflf 
and manly fellow, with a frown for the very many things he could 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 193 

not alter and a helping hand with the few that he could. The grey 
made a subtle difference to show here in their greeting. 

For the priest — they had never seen him before; and as novelty 
in prison is thrice novelty, the various groups welcomed with an in- 
terested gaze , the stout-built, rusty-black figure with a strong face, 
rosy and likable. "Holy Virgin!" said the priest. "If the South is 
any warmer than this, sure ye 'U be af ther thanking the Saints and us 
for bringing you North! Are there any sons of the Chturch in sound 
of my voice ? " 

There was one — a lieutenant in the last stages of consumption. 
He sat in the sun with a red spot in each cheek and eyes bright as a 
bird's. The well-liked blue officer brought the priest to this boy. 
He was but nineteen, and evidently had not a month to live. " Good 
morning. Lieutenant ! ' ' said the officer. " Father Tierney 's a cordial 
in himself! And if, being a Catholic, you'd like — " 

"Were he twenty times a Ribil," said Father Tierney, sotto voce, 
"he's a sick human crathure and a dying man." 

"Then I'll leave you with him for a little," said the officer, and 
walked away. 

"Peace go with you!" said Father Tierney. "My poor son, if 
you've done any harm in the flesh, the Lord having taken away 
the flesh will take away that, too. — You are not one of those 
who — " Father Tierney spoke for thirty seconds in a lowered voice. 

"No," said the lieutenant, "I used to try, but I gave it up when I 
saw that I was going to get out anyhow. But a lot of us are still 
trying — There's one over there that's trying, I'm certain. He's 
been awful good to me. If he could — if you could now — " 

"The man standing in the shadow of the wall? " 

The man standing in the shadow of the wall was only a stride or 
two away. The blue officers had their backs turned; the grey prison- 
ers were listlessly minding their own business; guards and sentries 
had their eyes on their superiors. The sun blazed down, the green 
tree-top just nodded. 

" Good morning, my son," said Father Tierney. 

" Good morning, Father." 

Father Tierney took off his hat and with it fanned his rosy, open 
face. "Holy Virgin! 'Tis warmer here in the District than it is 
in Maryland — Maryland being my home, my son." 



194 CEASE FIRING 

"Which half of Maryland, Father?" 

"The 'Maryland, my Maryland' half, my son." 

"That," said Stafford, "is the half that I like best. It is the near- 
est to Virginia." 

"What," said Father Tierney, "if ye had a wishing-cap, would ye 
wish for?" 

"Gold and a blue suit. Father." 

"A uniform, ye mane?" 

"No. A hospital steward's suit. Blue linen. I've got it worked 
out." 

"My son," said Father Tierney, in a brisk, full voice, "ye've a 
look of mortal fever! The Saints know it doesn't become us to 
boast! But I was born with a bit of a medical faculty sticking 
sthraight out and looking grave. — Let me lay my finger on your 
pulse." 

Stafford's palm closed upon something hard and round and yel- 
low. His eyes met the priest's eyes. 

"It's a weary number of soul miles ye '11 have been travelling, my 
friend," thought the priest. "There's something in you that's been 
lightning branded, but it's putting out green shoots again." 

The blue officer was seen approaching. Father Tierney turned 
with heartiness to meet him. "That poor lad yonder. Captain, 
he's not long for this sinful world! If you've no objection I'd like 
to come again — That's thrue! That's thrue enough! 'Who'd 
mercy have must mercy show.' — Captain, darlint, it 's hot enough 
to melt rock! Between the time I left Ireland and came to America, 
and that's twinty years ago, I went a pilgrimage to Italy. Hav- 
ing seen Rome I wint to Venice. There's a big palace there where 
the Doges lived, and up under the palace roof with just a bit of 
lead like a coffin lid between you and the core of the blessed sun in 
heaven — there 's the prisons they call piombi. — Now you usually 
think of cold when you think of prisons, but I gather that heat's 
more maddening — " 

Prison X was as capricious as any other despot. The next day 
was as hot a day, but only so many might go into the air at once. 
Many, waiting their turn in the black, stifling hall, got no other 
gleam than that afforded by the grudged opening and the swift 
closing of the outer door. The next day again the heat held and the 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 195 

despot's ill humour held. At long intervals the door opened, but 
before a score had passed, it closed with a grating sound. 

The fourth morning Stafford found himself again in the sun and 
shadow of this yard. The earth was harder-baked, the blue sky 
more fiercely metallic, the bushy head of the one tree seen over the 
wall more decisively mocking. With it all there was a dizziness in 
the air. He knew that he had been buoyed by the second wind. As 
he came out from the gloom into the glare a doubt wound like a 
snake into his brain. He feared the wind — that it would not last — 
it was so very sickening out here. 

He took the shade of the wall, pressed his shoulder against the 
bricks and closed his eyes. For a minute or more the spirit sank, 
then the will put its lips to some deep reservoir and drank. 
Stafford opened his eyes and stood from the wall. Second wind or 
third wind, it held steady. 

The consumptive lieutenant was not in the yard. He had had a 
hemorrhage and was now in the hospital watching Death come a 
stride a day. The yard held a fair number of men, listless in the heat, 
walking slowly, standing, or seated, with hands about the knees and 
bowed heads, on the parched, untidy ground. The guards at the 
small gate, a gate which opened on another yard, not free to prison- 
ers, with beyond it the true, heavy gate — the guards suffered with 
the heat, held their rifles languidly. The moments went on, a line of 
winged creatures now with broken wings, creeping, not flying, an 
ant-line of slow moments, each with its burden of lassitude, ennui, 
enfeebled hope. The one tree-top was all green and gold and shin- 
ing fair and heavenly cool, but it was set in Paradise, and from 
Paradise, like Abraham, it only looked across the gulf, a gulf in 
which it acquiesced. And so it was a mocking tree, more fiend than 
angel. . . . 

The figures of the sentries at the gate grew energized; they 
tautened, stood at salute. Into the yard came on inspection a group 
of officers, among them the one whom the prisoners held to be 
human. With them came Father Tiemey. 

"The top of the morning to ye, children!" said Father Tiemey. 
"Sure it's a red cock feather the morning's wearing!" He came 
nearer. "Where's the lieutenant that was coughing himself away, 
poor deluded lad!" 



196 CEASE FIRING 

He looked about him, then came over to the wall, a big, rusty- 
black figure, standing so close that he made another wall for shadow. 
His eyes and Stafford's met. 

"The lieutenant, poor lad!" demanded Father Tierney, his 
strong, rich voice rolling through the yard, "it's the hospital he's 
in?" 

"Yes," said Stafford. "He had a bad hemorrhage and they took 
him yesterday." 

"Tell me," said Father Tierney, "a bit about him, and I'll write 
it to his parents. Parents — especially mothers — have the same 
kind of heartbreak on both sides of the line." 

The officers passed on. The thirty-odd grey prisoners walked or 
sat or stood as before. Stafford was a little in shadow, and the 
priest's bulky form, squared before him, cut off the more crowded 
part of the enclosure. 

Father Tierney, discoursing of parents, dropped his voice with 
suddenness. "It's the smallest possible bundle. You're sure you 
can hide it under your coat ?" 

"Yes—" 

"And his father's a ribil fighting with Johnston — and his mother 
in Kentucky — Holy Powers!" said Father Tierney, "the heat in 
this place 's fearful and I once had sunsthroke — Quick I — ^ It 's giddy 
enough — Have you got it ? — I 'm feeling this minute ! " He straight- 
ened himself, wandered to a neighbouring stone, and, sitting down, 
called to the nearest guard who came up. "Is there a cup of water 
handy, my son? I had a simsthroke once and this yard 's Gehenna 
to-day, no less!" 

Two days later, just at sunset, a hospital steward passed through 
the hall of the officers' side of Prison X, nodded to the sentries at the 
door, crossed the yard, was let pass the small gate, crossed the court 
beyond, pretty well occupied as it was with blue soldiers, and ap- 
proached the heavy, final gate. An official of some description was 
ahead of him, and he had for a moment to wait. The gate opened, 
the man in front passed through; there came a moment's vision of a 
green tree against a rosy sky — the tree whose head showed above 
the prison wall. The hospital steward stepped forward. He had 
the word — it had been bought with a gold-piece of considerable 
denomination. He gave it; the gate creaked open, he passed out. 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 197 

The sunset looked a fabulous glory; the one tree had the sublimity 
of the pathless forest. 

At dark he found the priest's lodging and, waiting for him, a suit 
of civilian clothes. He proposed to get to the river that night, swim 
it, and find dawn and the Virginian shore. "Whist!" said Father 
Tiemey. "You'll be afther attacking a fretful porcupine! Put out 
your hand, and you'll touch a pathrol. They're thicker on the 
river bank than blue flies. No, no! you thravel by road till you're 

twinty-five miles from here. You'll come to a hamlet called 

and there you'll find a carpenter shop and a negro named Taylor. 
He's a faithful freedman and well thought of by the powers that be. 
You stop and ask for a drink of water, and thin you say in a whisper 
across the gourd, 'Benedict Tierney and a boat across.' You'll 
get it. — It 's risky by the road, thrue enough, but divil a bit of 
risk would there be if you wint shtraight down to the river! The 
hedgehog would shoot as many quills at you as was necessary." 

"Whether I get clear away or not, you have put me under an 
obligation. Father, which — " 

"Whist, my son, I'm Southern, I tell ye! Drink your wine, and 
God be good to the whole of us!" 

The night was still and starry, dry and warm. Stafford walked in 
company yet of the second wind. Bliss, bliss, bliss, to be out of 
Prison X! He went like a child, wary as a man, but like a child in 
mere whiteness of thought and sensuousness of being. The stars — 
he looked up at them as a boy might look his first night out of doors. 
Bright they were and far away, and the flesh crept toward them with 
a pleasure in the movement and a sadness for the distance. The 
slumberous masses of the trees, the dim distinction of the horizon, the 
sound of hidden water, the flicker of fireflies, the odour of the fields, 
the dust of the glimmering road — all had keenness, sonority, fresh- 
ness of first encounters. For a long time he was not conscious of 
fatigue. Even when he knew at last that he was piteously tired, 
night and the world kept their vividness. 

Between two and three o'clock some slight traffic began upon the 
road. A farm-gate opened to let out a great empty wagon and a 
half-grown boy with a whip over his shoulder. The horses turned 
their heads westward. Stafford, rising from a rock-pile, asked a 
lift, and the boy gave it. All rattled westward over the macadam 



198 CEASE FIRING 

road. The boy talked of the battle of last month — the great battle 
in Pennsylvania. 

" Did n't we give them hell — oh, did n't we give them hell ? They 
saw we killed twenty thousand! " 

"Twenty thousand. ... It is not, after all, strange that we de- 
duced a hell. . . . How fresh the morning smells!" 

Horses, wagon, and boy were but going from one farm to another. 
Two miles farther on Stafford thanked the youngster and left this 
convoy. Light was gathering in the east. He was now met or over- 
taken and passed by a fair number of conveyances. In some there 
were soldiers; others held clusters of loudly talking or laughing men. 
A company of troopers passed, giants in the half-Ught. He concluded 
that he must be near an encampment, and as he walked he debated 
the propriety of turning from the road and making his way through 
woods or behind the screen of hills. Men on horseback, in passing, 
spoke to him. At last, as the cocks were crowing, he did turn from 
the road. The lane in which he found himself woimd narrowly 
between dew-heavy berry-bushes and an arch of locust trees. 
Branch and twig and leaf of these made a wonderful fretted arch 
through which to view the carnation morning sky. Ripe berries 
hung upon the bushes. Stafford was hungry and he gathered these 
and ate. A bird began to sing, sweet, sweet ! Holding by the stem of 
a young persimmon he planted his foot in the moist earth of the 
bank, and climbed upward to where the berries grew thickest. Briar 
and elder and young locust closed around him. Above the bird sang 
piercingly, and behind it showed the purple sky. The dewy coolness 
was divine. His head was swimming a little with fatigue and hunger, 
but he was light-hearted, with a curious, untroubled sense of identity 
with the purple sky, the locust tree, the singing bird, even with the 
spray of berries his hand was closing on. 

The bird stopped singing and flew away. A horse neighed, the 
lane filled with the sound of feet. Stafford saw between the bushes 
the blue moving forms. He crouched amid the dimness of elder 
and blackberry, not knowing if he were well hidden, but hoping for 
the best. The company, pickets relieved and moving toward an en- 
campment, had well-nigh passed when one keen-eyed man observed 
some slight movement, some overbending of the wayside growth. 
With his rifle barrel he parted the green curtain. 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 199 

This encampment was an outstretched finger of the encampment 
of a great force preparing to cross the Potomac. It appeared, too, 
that there had been recently an outcry as to grey spies. Stafford 
proffered his story — a Marylander who had been to the city and was 
quietly proceeding home. He had turned into the lane thinking it a 
short cut — the berries had tempted him, being hungry — he had 
simply stood where he had climbed, waiting until he could plunge 
into the lane again; — behold the whole affair! 

He might have won through, but in the guardhouse where he was 
searched they found a small, worn wallet whose contents damned 
him. Standing among the berry-bushes, his hand had gone to this 
with the thought that he had best throw it away before danger 
swooped — and then he had refrained, and immediately it was too 
late. The sergeant looked it through, shook his head, and called a 
lieutenant. The lieutenant took the papers in a bronzed hand, ran 
them over, and read a letter dated two years back, written from 
Greenwood in Virginia and signed Judith Gary. He folded it and 
retiumed it to the wallet which he kept. 

"Of course you know," he said in an agreeable voice, "that this 
is your death-warrant. I wonder at you for such monumental care- 
lessness! Or, perhaps, it was n't carelessness." 

"No," said Stafford, "it was n't carelessness. But I am not a spy. 
Yesterday I escaped from Prison X." 

"Tell that," said the lieutenant, "to the marines. Sergeant, we 
move before noon, and jobs of this sort must be put behind us! 
There's a drumhead court sitting now. Bring him across." 

The tree was an oak with one great bough stretching like a warped 
beam across a cart track. Stafford divined it when he and the blue 
squad were yet three hundred yards away. It topped a slight rise 
and it thrust that arm out so starkly against the sky. He knew it 
for what it was. The world and the freshness of the world were as 
vividly with him as during any hour of the preceding vivid twelve. 
Every sense was vigorously functioning; the whole range of percep- 
tion was lit; length and breadth and depth, he felt an intimacy of 
knowledge, a sure interpenetration. He saw wholly every little dog- 
wood tree, every stalk of the long grass by the roadside; the cadence 
of the earth was his, and the taste of existence was in his mouth. He 
had a steady sense of the deep that was flowing into the mould of 



200 CEASE FIRING 

life and then out of the mould of life. He felt eternal. The tree and 
that stark limb bred in him no fear. 

A party of cavalry came up behind the foot soldiers. 

"Where are you going?" asked the oflScer at the head. 

" To hang a spy," answered the lieutenant. " On the tree yonder." 

"Yes?" said the officer. "Not the pleasantest of work, but at 
times necessary. — It's a lovely morning." 

"Is n't it? The heat's broken at last." 

The troopers continued to ride alongside, and so all mounted the 
little rise and came together upon the round of dry sward beneath 
the'tree. A curt order or two left the blue soldiers drawn up at one side 
of this ring, and the prisoner with the provost guard in the centre, 
beneath the tree. Stafford glanced down at the rope that was now 
about his neck. It lay curled there like a tawny serpent, visible, real, 
real as the bough up to which, too, he glanced — real, and yet pro- 
foundly of no tremendous importance. He had a curious fleeting 
impression as of a fourth dimension, as of the bough above arching a 
portal, on the other side of which lay utter security. Upon the way 
thither he had been perfectly silent, and he felt no inclination now 
toward speech or any demonstration. He stood and waited, and he 
was not conscious of either quickening or retarding in Time's quiet 
footfall. 

The cavalry officer, in the course of a checkered existence, had 
witnessed a plenty of military executions — so many, in fact, that 
Pity and Horror had long since shrugged their shoulders and gone off 
to sleep. They had left a certain professional curiosity; a degree of 
connoisseurship in how men met death. He now pushed his horse 
through the scrub to the edge of the ring. The action brought him 
within twenty feet of the small group in the centre, and, upon the 
blue soldiers standing back a little, face to face with the bareheaded 
prisoner. The officer looked, then swung himself from the saddle, 
and, with spurs and sabre jingling, strode into the trodden ground. 
"A moment. Lieutenant, if you please! I have somewhere seen your 
prisoner — though where — " 

He came closer. Stafford, worn to emaciation, dressed in rough 
civilian clothes, with the rope about his bared neck, returned his 
gaze. Memory stepped between them with a hand to each. The air 
darkened, grew filled with thunder, jagged lightning, and whistling 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 201 

rain, the parched earth was quagmire, the dusty trees Virginia 
cedars vsith twisted roots, wet, murmuring in a harsh wind. There 
was heard the rattle of Stonewall Jackson's musketry, and, above 
the thimder, Pelham's guns. 

"Ox Hill!" exclaimed Marchmont with an oath. 

Stafford's eyelids just quivered. "Ox Hill," he repeated. 

Suddenly, with the thunder of Pelham's guns, the bough above was 
no longer the arch of a portal. It was an oak bough with the end of 
a rope thrown across it. Life streamed back upon him. The clarity, 
the silver calm, the crystal quality went from things. He staggered 
slightly, and the blood drummed in his ears. 

Marchmont was speaking rapidly to the lieutenant and the pro- 
vost officer. "How do you know that he is a spy? Said he was an 
escaped prisoner -^ escaped from Prison X? Could n't you wait to 
find out? Believe it? Yes, I believe it. He's a Southern officer — 
he did me the best of turns once — day when I thought I was a 
prisoner mjrself — day of Chantilly. — Yes. Colonel Francis March- 
mont. Marchmont Invincibles. Remand him, eh? — until we tele- 
graph to the Commandant at X. No use treating him as a spy if 
he is n't a spy, eh? Remember once in Italy when that game was 
nearly played on myself. — You will wait. Lieutenant, until I send 
an orderly back with a note to your general ? Know him well — 
think I can arrange matters. — Thanks! Here, Roberts!" 

Roberts galloped off. The group beneath the tree, the soldiers 
drawn up at one side, the troopers and their colonel stayed as 
they were, waiting. The bright sands ran on, the breeze in the 
oak whispered like a dryad, the bees buzzed, there came an odour 
of the pine. Stafford's hand and lip were yet stained with the 
berries. He stood, the tawny cirque about his neck, waiting with 
the rest. 

Roberts returned. He bore a folded piece of writing which he 
delivered to Marchmont. The latter read, then showed it to the 
lieutenant, who spoke to the sergeant of the provost guard. Two not 
imkindly hands loosened the circle of rope and lifted it clear from the 
prisoner. Marchmont came across with outstretched hand. 

"Major Stafford, I thought I could manage it! As soon as the 
matter is verified from X — I shall see if I cannot personally 
arrange an exchange. I am pretty sure that I can do that, too." 



202 CEASE FIRING 

His teeth gleamed beneath his yellow mustache. "I haven't at 
the moment a flask such as you raised me from the dead with! — 
Jove! the fine steel rain and the guns with the thunder, and Caliph 
pressed hard; and it was peine forte et dure — " 

"It was a travelled road," said Stafford; "presently some one else 
would have come by and released you. But this is not a travelled 
road and I was very near to death." He looked at his berry-stained 
hands. "I don't think I cared in the least about death itself. It 
seemed, standing here, a perfectly unreal pasteboard arch, a piece of 
stage furniture. But I have a piece of work to do on this side of it 
. . . and so, on the whole, I am glad you came by." He laughed a 
little. "That has a mighty ungracious sound, has it not ? I should 
thank you more heartily — and I do!" 

A month from this day he stood upon Virginia earth, duly ex- 
changed. He had been put across at Williamsport. Marchmont 
had pressed upon him a loan of money and a horse. For a week 
he had been, in effect, Marchmont's guest. A strange liking had 
developed between the two. . . . But now he was alone, and in 
Virginia, — Virginia that he had left more than a year ago when 
the army crossed into Maryland and there followed the. battle 
of Sharpsburg. He was alone, riding through a wood slowly, his 
hands relaxed upon the saddlebow, lost in thought. 

About him was the silence of the warm September wood. It was a 
wood of small pines, scarred and torn, as were now all the woods of 
this land by the heavy hand and heel of a giant war. That was a 
general war, but to each man, too, his own war. Stafford's had been 
a long war, long and sultry, stabbed with fierce lightnings. He had 
scars enough within, stains of a rough and passionate weather, 
marks of a lava flow. But to-day, riding through the September 
wood, he felt that the war was over. He was drawing still from that 
deeper stratum of being, from the colder, purer well. His mind had 
changed, and without any inner heroics he was prepared to act 
upon that change. He had never been weak of will. 

In Winchester, when he entered it at sunset, he found a small grey 
command, and on the pillared porch of the hotel and in the bare 
general room various officers who came and went or sat at the table 
writing. Stafford, taking his place also at this long and heavy board 
and asking for pen and ink, fell into talk, while he waited, with an 



BREAD CAST ON WATER 203 

infantry captain sitting opposite. Where was General Lee and the 
main army? 

"Along the Rapidan, watching Meade on the other side. Where 
have you been," said the captain, "that you did n't know that ?" 

"I have been in prison. — On the Rapidan." 

"Yes. But Longstreet, with Hood and McLaws, ha.s been ordered 
to Tennessee to support Bragg. There'll be a great battle down 
there." 

"Then there's inactivity at the moment with us?" 

"Yes. Marse Robert 's just resting his men and watching Meade. 
Nobody exactly knows what the next move will be." 

A negro boy brought the writing-materials for which Stafford 
had asked. He left the captain's conversation and fell to writing. 
He wrote three letters. One was to General Lee, whom he knew per- 
sonally, one to the general commanding his own brigade, and one to 
Warwick Gary. When he came to the envelope for the last-named 
letter he glanced across to the captain, also writing. "The Goldea 
Brigade, General Gary — Warwick Gary? Do you know if it is with 
Longstreet or by the Rapidan ?" 

"By the Rapidan, I think. But Warwick Gary was killed at 
Gettysburg." 

Stafford drew in his breath. "Ihadnot heard that! I am sorry, 
sorry. ... I begin to think how little I have heard. I have been in 
Prison X since Sharpsburg. . . . General Gary killed!" 

"Yes. At the head of his men in a great charge. But the brigade 
is by the Rapidan." 

"It was not the brigade I was thinking of," said the other. 

He sat for a moment with his hand shading his eyes, then he 
slowly tore into pieces the letter to Warwick Gary. The remaining 
two letters he saw placed in the mail-bag for army headquarters. 
The next morning early he rode out of Winchester, out upon the 
Valley Pike. Before him lay Kemstown; beyond Kemstown 
stretched beneath the September mist the long, great war-road 
with its thronging memories. He touched his horse and for sev- 
eral days travelled southward through the blackened Valley of 
Virginia. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THREE OAKS 

THE countryside lay warm and mellow in the early autumn 
air. The mountains hung like clouds; the vales cherished the 
amber light. The maple leaves were turning ; out on the edge 
of climbing fields the sumach was growing scarlet, the gum trees red 
as blood. The sunlight was as fine as old Canary. Cawl Caw I went 
the crows, wheeling above the unplanted fields. 

The Three Oaks' carriage, Tullius driving, climbed the heavy 
fields, where, nowadays, the roads were never mended. This region, 
the head of the great main Valley, was a high, withdrawn one. From 
it men enough had gone to war, but as yet it had not itself become 
a field for contending armies. No cannon here had roused the 
echoes of the Blue Ridge, no smoke of musketry drifted through 
the forest glades. News of the war came by boat up the James, 
or from the lower towns, — Lexington, Staunton, Charlottesville, — 
in the old, red, high-swung stages, or brought by occasional horse- 
men, in saddle-bags filled with newspapers. The outward change in 
the countryside was to be laid to the door, not of violent commis- 
sion but of omission — omission less spectacular, but no less assured 
of results. The roads, as has been said, were untended, fallen into 
holes, difficult to travel. A scrub of sassafras, of trailing berry- 
vines, of mullein, was drawing with slender fingers many a field back 
into the wild. The fences were broken, gaps here and gaps there, 
trailed over by reddening vines. When the road passed a farmhouse 
the fences there were a ghastly, speckled, greyish white; innocent 
of whitewash for now going on three years. The horseblocks showed 
the same neglect; the spring-houses, too, and the outbuildings and 
negro cabins. The frame farmhouses looked as dolefully. The brick 
houses kept more an air of old times, but about these and their 
gardens there dwelled, too, a melancholy shabbiness. Everjrwhere 
was a strange feeling of a desert, of people gone away or sunken 
in dreams, of stopped clock-hands, of lowered life, of life holding 



THREE OAKS 205 

itself very still, yet of a life that knew heavy and painful heart- 
teats. There were not many cattle in the fields; you rarely saw 
a strong, mettled horse; those left were old and work-worn and 
thin. There seemed not so many of anything; the barnyards lacked 
feathered people, the duck-ponds did not flower in white and gold as 
of yore, the broods of turkeys were farther between, even the flower 
gardens seemed lessened in colour, the blooms farther apart. At 
long intervals the Three Oaks' carriage met or overtook slow travel- 
lers on the road. Chiefly they were women. In the same way the 
fields and gardens, the dooryards and doorsteps of the houses pre- 
sented to view women and children. 

Miriam remarked upon this. "Just women and babies and old 
Father Time. I have n't seen a yoimg man to-day. I have n't seen a 
boy — not one over fifteen. All gone. . . . And maybe the cannon 
balls to-day are playing among them as they played with Will." 

"Miriam," said her mother, "be as strong as Will! How shall 
you be merry with him when you do meet if you go on through life 
like this?" 

"I don't see that you have any right to say that to me," said 
Miriam. "I do everything just the same. And it seems to me that 
I can hear myself laughing all the day. Certainly I don't cry. I 
never was a cry-baby." 

"I had rather you cried," answered Margaret Cleave. 

"Well, I'm not going to cry. . . . Look at that calf in the 
meadow yonder — little brown thing with a mark on the forehead! 
Doesn't it look lonely — usually there are two of them playing 
together. Here comes an old man with a bucket." 

It was an old negro with a great wooden bucket filled with 
quinces. He put up a beseeching hand and Tullius stopped the 
horses. "Dey's moughty fine quinces, mistis. Don' yo' want ter 
buy 'em ? Dey dries fust-rate." 

"They're dry already," said Miriam. "They're withered and 
small." 

"Yass 'm. Dar ain' anything dishyer war ain't shrivelled. But I 
sho does need ter sell 'em, mistis." 

"I can't pay much for them," said Margaret. "Money's very 
scarce, uncle. It's withered, too." 

"Yass'm, dats so! I ain't er-gwiner ax much, mistis. I jes' 



2o6 CEASE FIRING 

erbleeged ter sell 'em, kase de cabin 's bare. Ef ten dollars '11 suit 
you — " 

Mrs. Cleave drew from her purse two Confederate notes. The 
seller of quinces emptied his freight into the bottom of the 
roomy equipage. He went on down the road, slow swinging his 
empty bucket, and the Three Oaks' carriage mounted the last long 
hill. It was going to the county-seat to do some shopping. The sun- 
shine lay in dead gold, upon the road and the fields on either hand. 
There was hardly wind enough to lift the down from the open milk- 
weed pods. The mountains were wrapped in haze. 

"War-shrunk quinces!" said Miriam. "Do you remember the 
Thunder Run woman with blackberries to sell a month ago ? She 
said the same thing. I said the berries were small and she said, 
*Yass, ma'am. The war's done stunt them.'" 

"I wonder where the army is to-day! " 

"You're thinking of Richard. You're always thinking of 
Richard." 

"Miriam, do you not think of Richard? Do you not love 
Richard ? " 

"Of course I love Richard. But you're thinking of him all the 
time! Will's only got me to think of him." 

"Miriam!" 

Miriam began to shudder. Dry-eyed, a carnation spot in each 
cheek, she sat staring at the dusty roadside, her slight figure shaking. 
Her mother leaned across and gathered her into her arms. " child, 
child! O third of my children! The one dead, and another perhaps 
dying or dead, at this moment, and in trouble, with a hidden 
name — and you, my littlest one, tearing with your hands at your 
own heart and at mine! And the country. . . . All our men and 
women, the warring and the warred upon. . . . And the world that 
wheels so blindly — all, all upon one's heart! It is a deal to think 
on, in the dead of night — " 

"I don't mean to be hard and wicked," said Miriam. "I don't 
know what is the matter with me. I am mad, I think. I remember 
that night after the Botetourt Resolutions you said that war was a 
Cup of Trembling. I didn't believe you then. — I don't believe 
we 're going to find a sheet of letter-paper in town, or shoes or flannel 
either." 



THREE OAKS 207 

There were three stores in town and the Three Oaks' carriage 
stopped before each. A blast had passed over the country stores as 
over the country fields, a sweeping away of what was needed for the 
armies and a steady depletion of what was left. For three years no 
new stock had come to the stores, no important-looking boxes and 
barrels over which the storekeeper beamed, hatchet in hand, around 
which gathered the expectant small fry. All the gay calicoes were 
gone, all the bright harness and cutlery. China had departed from 
the shelves, and all linen and straw bonnets and bright wool. The 
glass showcases, once the marvel and delight of childish eyes, were 
barren of ribbons and "fancy soap," of cologne, pictured handker- 
chief boxes, wonderful buttons, tortoise-shell combs, and what-not. 
The candies were all gone from the glass jars, the "kisses" and 
peppermint stick. There were no loaves of sugar in their blue paper. 
There was little of anything, very little, indeed, — and the mer- 
chant could not say as of old, "Just out, madam! — but my new 
stock is on the way." 

They found at last a quire or two of dusty foolscap, paid thirty 
dollars for it, and thought the price reasonable. Shoes were not 
to be discovered — "any more than the North Pole!" saidthesmall 
old man who waited upon them. "Yes, Mrs. Cleave; it's going to 
be an awful thing, this winter ! " They bought a few yards of flannel, 
and paid twenty dollars the yard; a few coarse handkerchiefs, and 
paid three dollars apiece for them; a pound of tea, and paid for it 
twenty-five dollars. When at last TuUius tucked their purchases 
into comers of the carriage, they had expended five hundred dollars 
in bright, clean, handsome Confederate notes. 

There were other shoppers in a small way in the stores, and, it 
being a fine morning, people were on the streets. It was the day of 
the month that was, by rights, court-day. The court-house was 
opened, and an ancient clerk attended, but there was no court. Out 
of habit, the few men left in town' gathered in the court-house yard 
or upon the portico between the pillars. Out of habit, too, the few 
men left in the countryside were in town to-day, their horses fast- 
ened at the old racks. Moreover, in this, as in other counties, there 
was always a sprinkUng of wounded sons, men home from the hospi- 
tal, waiting for strength to go back to the front; now and then, too, 
though more rarely, an officer or private home on furlough. The 



ao8 CEASE FIRING 

little town, in the clutch of adversity as were all little towns through 
the great range of the South, was not in the main a dolorous or de- 
jected place. The fine, clear, September air this morning carried 
laughter. And everywhere nowadays there bloomed like a purple 
flower a sense of the heroic. The stage was not due for hours yet, 
and so there was no crowd about the post-office where the last bulle- 
tin, read and re-read and read again, was yet posted upon a board 
beside the door. 

The ladies from Three Oaks exchanged greetings with many an 
old friend and country neighbour. Margaret Cleave was honoured 
by all, loved by many, and her wistful, dark, flower-Uke daughter 
had her friends also. Everybody remembered Will, everybody knew 
Richard. It used to be "Have you heard from Captain Cleave?" 

— "Have you heard from Major Cleave ?" — "Have you heard 
from Colonel Cleave ? " — Now it was different. Most people here- 
abouts believed in Richard Cleave, but they, somewhat mistakenly, 
did not speak of him to his mother. There was always a silence 
through which throbbed a query. Margaret Cleave, quiet, natural, 
imafraid, and unconstrained, never told where was Richard, never 
spoke of him in the present, but equally never avoided reference to 
him in the past. It was understood that, wherever he was, he was in 
health and "not unhappy." His old friends and neighbours asked 
no more. In the general anxiety, the largeness of all reference, too 
great curiosity, or morbid interest in whatever strangeness of ill 
fortune came to individual folk, had little place. 

■The two moved with naturalness among their fellows, going to 
and fro on various errands. When all were accomplished they went 
for dinner to a fair pillared house of old friends on the outskirts of 
town. Dinner was the simplest of meals and all were women who sat 
at table. They talked of the last-received letters, the latest papers, 
the news of recent movements, battles, defeats, victories, hardships, 
triumphs, — Averell's raid in western Virginia, the cavalry fighting 
near the White Sulphur, the night attack on Fort Sumter, the fight- 
ing in Arkansas, the expected great battle in Tennessee. The one- 
course dinner over, they sat for an hour in the cool, deep parlour, 
where they took up baskets and fell to carding lint while they talked 

— now of prices and makeshift, how to contrive shoes, clothing, 
warmth, food, medicines, what-not, and how to continue to send 



THREE OAKS 209 

supplies to the men in the army. Then, while they carded lint, 
Miriam was asked to read aloud. She did so, taking the first book 
that offered from the table. It was "Lalla Rookh," and she read 
from it with a curious, ungirlish brilliancy and finish. When she 
put the book down she was asked if she would not sing. 

"Not if you do not wish to," said her mother. 

Miriam got up at once. "I do wish to." 

Her mother, following her to the piano sat down and laid her 
fingers on the keys. 

"Sing," said some one, '"Love launched a Fairy Boat.'" 

"Love launched a fairy boat 
On a bright and shining river, 
And said, 'My bark shall float 
O'er these sunny waves forever. 
The gentlest gales shall fill the sails 
That bear me onward cheerily, 
And through Time's glass the sand shall pass 
From morn till evening merrily. 
From morn till evening merrily . . .' 
Love launched a fairy boat — " 

Margaret rose quickly. The others with exclamations gathered 
around as the mother laid the slight figure on the sofa. 

" She is frightfully unwell," said Margaret. "Will — Richard — 
the strain of this war that should never have been!" She loosened 
the girl's dress at the throat,. bathed her temples. "There, my dear, 
there, my dear — " 

Miriam sat up. "What is the matter? The world got all black. . . . 
Let us go home, mother." 

They only waited for the stage to come in. From the carriage, 
drawn up near the post-ofl5ce, they watched it rumble up, within its 
depths a hurt soldier or two and the usual party of ref ugeeing women 
and children. The jaded horses stopped before the post-office; the 
driver climbed down with the mail-bag, all the town came hurrying. 
A man standing on a box, beneath the bulletin board, began to read 
in a loud voice from an unfolded paper: "Cavalry encounters along 
the Rapidan — General Lee in Richmond conferring with the Pre- 
sident — Longstreet's corps taking train at Louisa Court-House. 
Destination presumably Tennessee. — Cumberland Gap. Tennessee. 
September ninth. To-day General Frazer, surrounded and cut of by 
superior force of enemy, surrendered with two thousand men — " 



2IO CEASE FIRING 

The Three Oaks' carriage went heavily homeward, up and over 
the long hills. A light from the west was on the Blue Ridge, the sky 
clear, the winds laid. At last they saw the home hill, and the three 
giant oaks. 

For a long time Miriam kept awake, lying in her narrow bed, her 
head on her mother's breast, but at last her eyes closed. Presently 
she was asleep, breathing quietly. Margaret, for the child's more 
easy lying, slipped her arm from beneath her, then waited until, 
with a little sigh, she settled more deeply among the pillows, then 
rose, waited another moment, and stepped lightly from the room. 
The hall window showed a sky yet red from the sunset. Across was 
the room that since boyhood had been Richard's. The mother 
entered it, closed the door, and moving to an old, leather-covered 
couch, lay upon it face downward. 

Outside the dusk closed in; the stars peered through the branches 
of the poplar without the window. Margaret rose, stood for a mo- 
ment looking at the sword slung above the mantel, then quit the 
room, and going downstairs, ate her slender supper while Mahalah 
discoursed of a ghost the negroes had seen the night before. 

It had been a frightful ghost — "Er ha'nt ez tall ez dat ar cedar 
ob Lebanon, an er part grey an' er part white an' er part black! 
An' it had n't no mo' touch to hit den de air has, an' whar de eyes was 
was lak two candles what de wind's blowin', and it kept er-crjrin' 
lak somebody in de mountains — woohl — woohl — woohl — 
No,'m, Miss Margaret! hit wa'n't 'magination. What we gwine 
'magine for, when ever'body could see hit wif their own two eyes?" 

Mahalah cleared the table, closed the shutters, and carried the 
lamp into the wide hall, where she set it on a leaf-table beside her 
mistress's workbasket. Then, still muttering of the "ha'nt," she 
threw her apron over her head, and departed for the quarter. Mar- 
garet mounted the stair and stood listening at Miriam's half-open 
door. The girl was sleeping quietly, and the mother, turning, came 
down again to the hall, and took her low chair beside the table and 
the basket of lint she was carding. The night was mild and soft, 
the front door standing open, the scent of the autumn flowers per- 
ceptible. 

Margaret Cleave, sitting carding lint, the lamplight upon her 
brown hair, her slender hands, the grave beauty of her face, — Mar- 



THREE OAKS 211 

garet Cleave thought of many things. In the midst of her thinking 
she heard a step upon the gravel before the house. A man mounted 
the porch steps and came into the hght from the open door. He had 
raised his hand to the knocker when he saw the mistress of the house 
sitting in the lamplight by the table. 

Margaret rose and came forward. She saw that it was a soldier, 
an officer. 

"Good evening," she said; then as she came closer, — "One mo- 
ment! . . . Major Stafford!" 

With a gesture for silence she took up the lamp and led the way 
into the parlour. "My daughter is not well and has fallen asleep. 
But we can talk here without disturbing her." 

"I came," said Stafford, "hoping to find Colonel Cleave. I have 
ridden from Lexington to-day. He is not here ?" 

"No." 

The two faced each other, her eyes large, enquiring, quietly host- 
ile. Stafford, moving with steadiness upon that changed level, met 
her gaze with a gaze she could not read. She turned sUghtly, sank 
into a great chair, and motioned him to one opposite. He continued 
to stand, his hand touching the table. There was a bowl of roses on 
the table, and soft Ughts and shadows filled the room. 

" Mrs. Cleave, will you tell me where I may find him ? " 

"No. You must understand that I cannot do that. . . . We heard 
that you were in prison." 

"I have been in prison since Sharpsburg. Latterly I found a 
friend and four days ago I was exchanged. I have come straight to 
Three Oaks." 

"Yes? Why?" 

Stafford walked the length of the room and stood a moment at a 
window, looking out into the night. He had fought his fight; it was 
all over and done with. Those last weeks in prison he had known 
where the victory would fall, and that first night out his mind had 
parted as finally as was possible with one vast country of his past, a 
dark co\mtry of strain and longing, fierce attraction, fierce repulsion. 
On the starlit road from Prison X, in the quietude of the earth, 
victory profound and ultimate had come, soft as down. Before he 
gathered the berries in the by-road, before the soldiers took him, 
before Marchmont came, he had touched the larger coimtry. 



212 CEASE FIRING 

He came back to the table where Margaret sat, a rose in her 
hand, her eyes upon its petals. 

"I came to Three Oaks," he said, "to make retribution." 

"Retribution!" 

Stafford faced her. "Mrs. Cleave, what do you know — what 
has he told you — of White Oak Swamp ?" 

Margaret laid the rose from her hand. "I know that somewhere 
there was treachery. I know that my son was guiltless of that charge. 
I know little more except that — except that, either you, also, 
were strangely misled, involved in that dreadful web of error — or 
that — or that you swore falsely." 

"I swore falsely." 

There was a silence. She sat looking at him with parted lips. He 
kept the quietness with which from his entrance he had moved and 
spoken, but as he stood there there grew a strange feeling in his face, 
and suddenly he raised his hand and covered his eyes. The clock in 
the hall ticked, ticked. Far out in the night a whip-poor-will was 
calling. The walls of the room seemed to expand. There came a 
sense of armies, of camp-fires stretching endlessly, of movements 
here and there beneath the canopy of night, of a bugle's distant 
shrilling, of the wheels of cannon, of a dim, high-borne flag. 

At last it grew intolerable. Margaret broke it with a thrilling 
voice. "And you come here to tell this to me?" 

"I came," said Stafford, "to tell it to Richard Cleave. I have 
written it to General Lee and my brigade commanders — and to 
others. By now it is in their hands." 

The silence fell again, while the mother's heart and brain dealt 
with the action and its consequences. At last she put her hands 
before her face. 

"I am joyful," she said, and her voice was thrillingly so, "but I 
am sorrowful too — " and her voice veiled and darkened. "Un- 
happy man that you are — !" 

"If you will believe me," said Stafford, "I am not unhappy. It 
was not, I think, until I ceased to be unhappy that I could see clearly 
either the way that I had travelled or the way that I am to travel. 
I will not speak of what is past, nor of remorse for what is past. I 
am not sure that what I feel is remorse. I have seen the ocean when, 
lashed by something in itself or out of itself, it wrecked and ruined, 



THREE OAKS 213 

and I have seen the ocean when it carried every bark in safety. It 
was the same ocean, and what is the use of words? But I will take 
now the blame and double blame of White Oak Swamp. I wished 
to say this to him, face to face — " 

"He took another name, and rejoined before Second Manassas. 
He joined Pelham's Battery, of the horse artillery. He called himself 
Philip Deaderick." 

"Deaderickl The rain and Pelham's guns . . . I remember." 

"He is to-night wherever his battery is. Somewhere on the Rapi- 
dan. He would not let — what happened — ruin his life. He went 
back to the army that he loved. He has done his duty there. More- 
over, no friend that knew him believed him guilty. Moreover, the 
woman that he loves has kept the steadiest faith — not less steady 
than mine, who am his mother. ... I will tell you this because it 
should be told you." 

"Yes," he said, "it should be told me. I have loved Judith Gary. 
But I want her happiness now. I wrote to her last night. I could n't 
do it before." 

The clock ticked, ticked. The whip-poor-will cried. Whip-poor- 
will t whip-poor-will/ Margaret sat very still, her elbow on the 
table, her hand shading her eyes. 

The quiet held a moment longer in the Three Oaks' parlour, then 
he broke it. "I have said all, I think, that needed to be said. It 
does not seem to me to be a case for words. You understand that 
the machinery has been set in motion, and that the weight will be 
lifted and laid where it belongs. I shall try when I reach the army 
to see Colonel Cleave. You will understand that I wish to do that, 
and why I wish it. Had he been here to-night I should have said to 
him little more, I think, than I have said to you. I should have said 
that the old, unneeded hatred had died from within me, and that I 
asked his forgiveness." 

He took his hat from the chair beside him. "I'll ride to town 
and sleep there to-night. In the morning I'll turn toward the 
Rapidan — " 

Margaret rose. "It is late. You have been riding all day. You 
are tired and thin and pale — you have been in prison." Suddenly 
as she looked at him the tears came. "Oh, the world, the world that 
it is ! Oh, the divided heart of it, the twisted soul, the bitter and the 



214 CEASE FIRING 

sweet and the dark and the light — " She dashed the tears away 
and came over to him with her hand held out. "See! it is all over 
now. It is far to town, and late. Stay at Three Oaks to-night. — 
TuUius shall put your horse up, and I will call Mahalah to see to 
your room — " 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE COLONEL OF THE SIXTY-FIFTH 

THROUGH the cool October sunlight three grey regiments and 
a battery of horse artillery were marching upon a road that 
led from the Rapidan to the Rappahannock. They were 
coming up from Orange Court-House and their destination was the 
main army now encamped below Kelly's Ford. 

The air was like wine and the troops were in spirits. There were 
huge jokes, laughter, singing, and when at noon the column halted 
in a coloured wood for dinner, the men frisked among the trees like 
young lambs or very fauns of Pan. They were ragged, and they 
did n't have much for dinner, but gaiety was in their gift and a quite 
superb "make the best of it." They were filled with quips and 
cranks; they guffawed with laughter. They lay upon the earth, 
hands beneath their heads, one knee crossed above the other, and 
sang to the red oak leaves on the topmost branch. 

"I dreamed a dream the other night, 
When everything was still; — 
I dreamed I saw Susannah 

Come running dowp the hill. . . . 

" O Susannah, don't you weep, 
Nor mourn too long for me — 
I'se gwine to Alabama, 
With my banjo on my knee!" 

"Old Grimes is dead, that good old man, 
Whom we shall see no more — " 

The Sixty-fifth Virginia's spirits flew in feathers. The Sixty-fifth 
was, for this period of the war and on the Southern side, a full regi- 
ment. It carried nearly five hundred muskets. It was practically 
half as large as it had been on the day of First Manassas. It had 
passed through three years of deadly war, but as a regiment it 
possessed skill as well as courage, and — with one exception — it 
had had fair luck. And then it had gathered recruits. It was a good 
regiment to belong to — a steady, fine regiment. 



2i6 CEASE FIRING 

Officers' mess spread its table on the golden, fallen leaves of a 
hickory beside a sliding, ice-cool rivulet. The four hundred and odd 
men were scattered, in perhaps fifty messes, through the grove. 
The smoke of their fires rose straight and blue. The metal of the 
stacked muskets reflected a thousand little saffron flames. The leaves 
drifted down. The day was ineffably sweet, cool, and fragrant. 
Cawl caw I went the crows in a neighbouring field. 

The Sixty-fifth believed in friendship. It believed in cousins. It 
believed in the tie of the County. The river, winding between wil- 
low and sycamore from croft to croft, — the chain of little valleys, 
the end of one touching the beginning of another, — the linked hills, 
each with its homestead, — the mountains with their mountain 
cabins, — all was so much framework in and over and about which 
flowed the mutual life. In its consciousness hill called to hill and 
stream to stream — Thunder Run to other runs and creeks — other 
mountains to Thunder Run Mountain. The Sixty-fifth experienced 
a profound unity — a unity bred of many things. Physical contig- 
uity played its part, a common range of ideas, a general standard of 
conduct, a shared way of seeing, hearing, tasting. Upon all was the 
stamp of community in effort, community in danger, community in 
event. It was not to the erection of separateness that brothers, 
cousins, friends, acquaintances, even in a minor degree enemies, 
shared heat and cold, the burning sun or the midnight, stumbling 
darkness of the road, storm and fatigue and waking through the 
night, hunger, thirst, marchings and battles and the sight of battle- 
fields, that their hearts together failed, shrivelled, darkened, or 
expanded, rose and shouted. So deeply alike now was their environ- 
ment and the face of their days that their own faces were grown 
strangely alike. Sometimes the members of the Sixty-fifth differed 
in opinion, sometimes they squabbled, sometimes they waxed sar- 
castic, sometimes they remarked that the world was too small for 
such or such a comrade and themselves. Then came the battle — 
and when in the morning light they saw such or such an one, it was 
" Hello, Jim — or Jack — or Tom ! I 'm right down glad you were n't 
killed! Fuss at you sometimes, but I'd have missed you, all the 
same!" 

The Sixty-fifth sat cross-legged in the coloured wood near Rappa- 
hannock, and ate its diminutive corn-pone and diminutive rasher of 



THE COLONEL OF THE SIXTY-FIFTH 217 

bacon. No Confederate soldier ever felt drowsily heavy after dinner. 
Where there was so little to digest, the process accomplished itself 
in the turn of a hand. There was little, too, to smoke, now — worse 
luck! But there was always — except in the very worst straits — 
there was always something out of which might be gotten a certain 
whimsical amusement. 

The Sixty-fifth had had an easy march, and was going to have 
another one. The Sixty-fifth knew this country like a book, having 
fought over most steps of it. It had a pleasant feeling of familiarity 
with this very wood and the shining stretch of road narrowing toward 
a dark wood and the Rappahannock. The Sixty-fifth had every con- 
fidence in Marse Robert, commanding all; in Old Dick, command- 
ing the Second Corps, in Alleghany Johnson, conmianding the divis- 
ion; in Walker, commanding the Stonewall; in Colonel Erskine, 
commanding the Sixty-fifth. Its confidence in the Sixty-fifth itself 
was considerable. Dinner done, it fell, lying beneath the trees, now 
to jokes and now to easy speculation. 

"What is Marse Robert moving us for ?" 

"Meade's walking again. Stalking up and down north side of 
Rappahannock. Same as Burnside last year. Marse Robert's bring- 
ing us and the th and th, over from Orange, to lay the ghost. 

— Oh, and I forgot the horse artillery! " 

"Horse artillery's all right, down there by that sumach patch, 
eating parched com. . . . This is what you might call golden 
weather. Listen to the crows. Caw! caw! caw I Just like old 
Botetourt." 

"If I were Allan Gold, I'd let that shoe alone. He can't mend it." 

"Whose shoe is it? Allan's?" 

"No. It's Lieutenant Coffin's. He's had a pale blue letter, and 
it said that the young lady was visiting in Fredericksburg — and 
ain't we on the road to Fredericksburg ?" 

"I see — I see!" 

" And of course lieutenant would like to have a whole shoe. You 'd 
like it yourself under the circumstances. Allan's mighty handy, 
and he told him he thought he could do it — " 

"If I had a knife — Allan! Here's a scrap of good leather. 
Catch! — Ain't no pale blue letter in mine. Wish there was." 

Sergeant Billy Maydew, at the- head of a small reconnoitring 



21 8 CEASE FIRING 

party, appeared and reported to the colonel. "We went to the river, 
sir, and two miles up and two miles down. As far as could be seen, 
things air all quiet. We thought we saw a smoke across the river — 
back agin' the sky. We met a foraging party — cavalry. It said 
General Lee was at Kelly's Ford, and that it was understood the 
enemy meant to cross. That air all I have to report, sir." 

The column took again the road. Of the three regiments, the 
Sixty^fifth came last. Behind it rumbled a small wagon train, and 
in rear of these the battery from the horse artillery. The battery 
was an acquisition of the morning. It had come out of the yellow 
and red woods in the direction of Culpeper, and had proceeded to 
"keep company." The Sixty-fifth liked the artillery very well, and 
now it fraternized as jovially as discipline would allow. "An old 
battery of Pelham's ? Pelham was a fighter! Saw him at Second 
Manassas with his arm up, commanding! Looked like one of those 
people in the old mythology book. — Glad to see you, old battery 
of Pelham's!" 

The afternoon was a wonderful clear one of high lights and blue 
shadows, of crisply moving air. All vision was distinct, all sound 
sonorous. Even touch and taste and smell had a strange vigour. 
And, by way of consequence, all faculties were energized. Past and 
present and future came all together in the hands, in one wonderful 
spice apple. And then, just as life was most worth living, the col- 
umn, the road bending, clashed against a considerable Federal force, 
that, crossing the Rappahannock at Beverly's Ford, had come down 
the river through the wonderful afternoon. 

The Sixty-fifth fought from behind a brown swale of earth with 
a rail fence atop. The rails were all draped with travellers' joy; 
together they made a flimsy screen through which sang the bullets. 
Zipp I zziipp I zzzip I went the minies, thick as locusts in Egypt. The 
two other regiments ahead were fighting, too; the wagons were 
scattered, the horses stampeded, the negro teamsters ashen with 
panic. The battery of horse artillery drove in thunder to the front, 
the guns leaping, the drivers shouting, the horses red-nostrilled, 
wide-eyed. Down sprang the gunners, into action roared the pieces; 
there was a bass now to answer the minies' snarling treble. But the 
blue had guns, too, more guns than the grey. They came pounding 
into the fight. 



THE COLONEL OF THE SIXTY-FIFTH 219 

The Sixty-fifth fought with desperation. It saw Annihilation, and 
it strove against it through every fibre. The men fired kneeUng. The 
flame had scarcely leapt ere the hand felt for the cartridge, the teeth 
tore at the paper, the musket flamed again. The metal scorched all 
fingers; powder grime and sweat marred every face. The men's lips 
moved rapidly, uttering a low monotone, or, after biting the cart- 
ridge, they dosed and made a straight line in each powder-darkened 
countenance. A shell tore away a length of the fence, kiUing or maim- 
ing a dozen. Through the smoke was seen the foe, gathering for a 
charge. The charge came and was repelled, but with loss. Two cap- 
tains were down, a lieutenant, many men. A gun, back on a hillside, 
was splitting the fence into kindling wood. The grey battery — the 
old battery of Pelham's — silenced this gun, but others came. They 
bellowed from three different points. The grey battery began itself 
to suffer. Doggedly it poured its fire, but a gun was disabled, a 
caisson exploded, horses and men dead or frightfully hurt. The two 
forward regiments had a better position or met a less massed and 
determined attack. They had come upon a hornet's nest, truly, but 
their fire at least kept the hornets at bay. But the Sixty-fifth was in 
the thick of it, and like to be overpowered. It had to get away from 
where it was in the cross-fire of the batteries — that was clear. Ers- 
kine dragged it back to a field covered with golden sedge. Out of 
the sheet of gold sprang small dark pines, and above the roar and 
the smoke was the transparent evening sky. Panting, devastated, 
powder-blackened, bleeding, the Sixty-fifth felt for its cartridges, 
bit them, loaded, fired on a dark blue wedge coming out of a wood. 
The wedge expanded, formed a line, came on with hurrahs. At the 
same instant a monster cylindrical shell, whooping like a demon, 
hurled itself against the grey battery. A second gun was put out of 
the fight. The sky went in flashes of red, the air in toppling crashes 
as of buildings in earthquake. When the smoke cleared, the blue 
had gone back again, but dead or dying in the sedge were many grey 
men. Colonel Erskine, slight, fiery, stood out, his hand pressing his 
arm from which blood was streaming. "Sixty-fifth Virginia! You've 
got as splendid a record as is in this army! You can't run. There 
isn't an3n!7here to run to. — White flag? No — 0! You don't raise 
a white flag while I command! — Put your back to the wall and 
continue your record!" 



220 CEASE FIRING 

"All right, sir," said the Sixty-fifth. "All right— Oh, the 
colonel! — oh, the colonel — " 

The colonel fell, pierced through the brain. A captain took his 
place, but the captains, too, were falling. . . . 

Billy Maydew and Allan Gold saw each other through a rift in the 
smoke. They were close together. 

"Billy," said Allan, "I wish you were out of this." 

"I reckon it's the end," said Billy, loading. "You look all kind 
of shining and bright, Allan. — Don't you reckon Heaven '11 be 
something like Thunder Run ?" 

"Yes, I do. Sairy and Tom, and the flowers and Christianna — " 

"And all the boys," said Billy, "and the colonel — Here air the 
dam Yanks again — " 

A short-range engagement changed into hand-to-hand fighting. 
Already the aiding battery had suffered horribly. Now with a shout 
the blue pushed against it, seizing and silencing one of the two re- 
maining guns. The grey infantry thrust back by the same onset, the 
grey artillerymen beaten from the guns, were now as one — four 
hundred grey men, perhaps, in a death clutch with twice their num- 
ber. Down the road broke out a wilder noise of fighting — it would 
seem, somehow, that there was an access of forces. . . . The blue, 
immediate swarm was somehow pushed back. Another was seen 
detaching itself. The ranking oflGicer was now a captain. He 
hurried along the front of the torn and panting hne. "Don't let's 
fail, men ! — Don't let 's fail ! Everybody at home — everybody at 
home knows we could n't — Give them as good as we take! Here 
they come! — Now — now! — " 

There was, however, a wavering. The thing was hopeless and the 
Sixty-fifth was deadly tired. With the fall of Erskine the trumpets 
had ceased to call. The Sixty-fifth looked at the loud and wide ap- 
proach of the enemy, and then it looked sideways. Its lips worked, 
its eyelids twitched. The field of sedge expanded to a limitless plain, 
heaped all with the dead and dying. The air no longer went in waves 
of red; the air was sinking to a greenish pallor, with a sickness trem- 
bling through it. Here was the swarm of the enemy. . . . The 
Sixty-fifth knew in its heart that there was some uncertainty as to 
whether it would continue to stand. The day was dead somehow, 
the heart beating slow and hard. . . . 



THE COLONEL OF THE SIXTY-FIFTH 221 

The blue overpassed the ruined, almost obliterated line of the rail 
fence, came on over the sedge. "Don't let's fail, men!" cried the 
captain. "Don't let's fail! We've never done it — Stand your 
ground!" — A minie ball entered his side. A man caught him, 
eased him down upon the earth. " Stand it out, men ! stand it out ! " 
he gasped. 

"Sixty-ffth Virginia I Front! Fix bayonets I Forward! Charge!" 

The Sixty-fifth Virginia obeyed. It wheeled, it fixed bayonets, it 
charged. It charged with a shout. As by magic, even to itself, its 
aspect changed. It was as though a full regiment, determined, 
clothed in the habit of victory, vowed to and protected by War 
himself, sprang across the sedge, struck against, broke and drove 
the blue. All the pallor went out of the atmosphere, all the faint- 
ness out of life. Every hue came strong, every line came clear, life 
was buoyant as a rubber ball. 

And now at last, as the blue fell back, as there came a shouting 
from down the road, as a mounted aide appeared, — "Hold your 
own! Hold your own! Stuart 's coming — horse and guns! Hold 
your own!" — as the smoke cleared, in the shaft of light that the 
westering sim sent across the field, the Sixty-fifth recognized why 
it had charged. In its ranks were men who had come in during 
the past year as recruits, or who had been transferred from other 
regiments. To these the Sixty-fifth apparently had charged, 
changing rout into victory, because a gunner from the disabled 
battery — the old battery of Pelham's — had sprung forward, 
faced for an instant the Sixty-fifth, then with a waved arm and 
a great magnetic voice had ordered the charge and led it. But 
most of the men of the Sixty-fifth were men of the old Sixty-fifth. 
Now, in the face of another and violent rush of the foe, the Sixty- 
fifth burst into a shout. "Richard Cleave/" it shouted; "Richard 
Cleave!" 

Twenty-four hours later, a great red sun going down behind the 
pines, Cleave found himself summoned to the tent of the Commander 
of the Army. He went, still in the guise of Philip Deaderick. Lee 
sat at a table. Standing behind him were several officers, among 
them Fauquier Cary, now General Cary. Beyond these was another 
shadowy group. 



222 CEASE FIRING 

Lee acknowledged the gunner's salute. " You have been known as 
Philip Deaderick, gunner in 's battery?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"But you are Richard Cleave, colonel of the Sixty-fifth ?" 

"I am Richard Cleave, sir. I was colonel of the Sixty-fifth." 

Lee moved his head. The tent was filled with shadows. A negro 
servant, bringing a lamp, set it on the table. In at the tent flap came 
the multitudinous hushed sound of the gathering night. "Major 
Stafford!" said Lee. 

Stafford came out of the dusk and stood before the table. There 
were five feet of earth between him and Cleave. The latter drew a 
quickened breath and held high his head. 

"When," asked Lee, watching him, "when did you last see the 
oflScer whom I have just called ?" 

"Sir, I saw him at Chantilly, in the dusk and the rain — " 

"You knew that he was taken at Sharpsburg ?" 

"Yes." 

"He has been in prison ever since — until the other day when he 
broke prison. He has been, I think, in another and worse prison — 
the prison of untruth. Now he breaks that prison, too. — Major 
Stafford, you will repeat to Colonel Cleave what you have written 
in these letters" — he touched them where they lay upon the table 
— "and what you have to-day told to me." 

Stafford's controlled, slow speech ceased its vibration in the tent. 
It had lasted several minutes, and it had been addressed to a man 
who, after the first few words, stood with lowered eyes. It was a 
detailed explanation of what had occurred at White Oak Swamp in 
'62, and it was given with a certain determined calm, with literal- 
ness, and with an absence of any beating of the breast. When it was 
ended there was a defined pause, then through the tent, from the 
great general at the table to the aide standing by the door, there ran 
a sound like a sigh. The man most deeply concerned stood straight 
and quiet. He stood as though lost in a brown study, like one who 
has attention only for the inward procession of events. 

Lee spoke. "As quickly as possible there shall be a public reversal 
of the first decision." He paused, then rested his grave eyes upon 
Stafford. "As for you," he said, "you will consider yourself under 
arrest, pending the judgment of the court which I shall appoint 



THE COLONEL OF THE SIXTY-FIFTH 223 

You have done a great wrong. It is well that at last, with your own 
eyes, you see it for what it is." He withdrew his gaze, rose, and 
going over to Cleave, took his hand. "You have gone through bitter 
waters," he said. "Well, it is over! and we welcome back among us 
a brave man and a gallant gentleman! Forget the past in thought 
for the future! The Sixty-fifth Virginia is yours again. Colonel 
Cleave. Indeed, I think that after yesterday we could not get it to 
belong to any one else!" 

"Colonel Erskine, sir, — " 

From the shadow hard-by came Fauquier . Cary's moved voice. 
"Erskine would have rejoiced with the rest of us, Richard. He 
never believed — " 

"Come, General Cary," said Lee, "and you, too, gentlemen, — 
come and give your hands to Colonel Cleave. Then we will say good 
night." 

The little ceremony was over, the kindly words were spoken. One 
by one the officers saluted and left the tent, Fauquier Cary tarrjring 
in obedience to a sign from Lee. When all were gone, the General 
spoke to Cleave whom he had been watching. "You would like a 
word alone with — " His eyes indicated Stafford. 

"Yes, General, if I may — " 

"I anj going across for a moment to General Stuart's. I will leave 
you here until I return." 

He moved toward the tent opening. "Richard," said Cary, — 
"Richard, I have no words — " He dropped his kinsman's hands; 
then, in following Lee, passed within a few feet of Stafford. He made 
a gesture of indignation and grief, then went by with closed lips 
and eyelids that drooped. Stafford felt the scorn like a breath from 
hot iron. 

The tent was empty now save for the two. "We cannot stop 
here," said Cleave. "I must go farther. Why have you changed ? 
Or are we still wearing masks ?" 

" If there is any mask I do not know it," said the other. " What is 
change, and why do we change? We have not found that out. But 
there is a fact somewhere, and I have — changed. I will answer 
what you will not ask. I love her, yes! — love her so well now that 
I would have her happy. I have written to her, and in my letter I 
said farewell. She will show it to you if you wish." 



224 CEASE FIRING 

"I do not wish — " 

"No," said Stafford. "I believe that you do not. Richard Cleave, 
I have not somehow much feeling left in me, but . . . You remem- 
ber the evening of Chantilly, when I came to Pelham's guns? In the 
darkness I felt you threatening me." 

"Yes." 

" Well, I did all that you knew of me, and I was all, I suppose, 
that you thought me. . . . There is never any real replacement, 
any real atonement. To my mind there is something childish in all 
our glib asking for forgiveness. I do not know that I ask you for 
your forgiveness. I wish you to know, however, that the old inex- 
cusable hatred is dead in my soul. If ever the time arrives when 
you shall say to yourself 'I forgive him' — " 

" I could say it for myself. I could not say it — not yet — for the 
regiment." 

Stafford flimg out his hand. "I, no more than you, foresaw that 
ambush beyond the swamp! I meant to procure what should seem 
your disobedience to General Jackson's orders. I saw nothing else, 
thought of nothing else — " 

"If you had seen it — " 

The silence held a moment; then said the other painfully, "Yes. 
You are perhaps right. In what a gulf and hollow man's being is 
rooted! ... I will not ask again for what I see would be difficult 
for any man to give — Here is General Lee." 

Cleave slept that night in the tent of Fauquier Cary. When, in 
the dusk of the morning, reveille sounding clearly through the 
woods by Rappahannock, he rose, and presently came out into the 
autumn world, an orderly met him. "There's a negro and a horse 
here, sir, asking for you. He says he comes from your county." 

From under the misty trees, out upon the misty road before the 
tent, came TuUius and Dundee. " Yaas, Marse Dick," said Tullius. 
"Miss Margaret, she done sont us. She say she know all erbout hit, 
en' that Three Oaks is er happy place!" 



CHAPTER XX 

CHICKAMAUGA 

IT is said to be easy to defend a mountainous country," said 
General Braxton Bragg, commanding the Army of Tennessee, 
"but mountains hide your foe from you, while they are full of 
gaps through which he can pounce upon you at any time. A moun- 
tain is like the wall of a house full of rat-holes. Who can tell what 
lies hidden behind that wall ?" 

The wall was the Cumberland Range. The several general officers, 
riding with General Bragg, uttered a murmur, whether of agreement 
or disagreement was not apparent. 

General D. H. Hill, lately sent from Virginia to the support of 
the forces in Tennessee, made a sound too gruff for agreement. He 
fell back a pace or two and drew up beside General Cleburne. " You 
can know moimtainous country, you know," he said. " It 's a matter 
of learning, like everything else." 

"True enough," agreed the other. "But there's precious few of 
mankind with any talent for learning!" 

The group sitting their horses in the scrub oak, in the September 
sunshine, gazed in a momentary silence upon Pigeon Mountain and 
Missionary Ridge and the towering Lookout Mountain. Bragg, 
brave, able in his own way, but melancholy, depressed, ill in body 
and mind, at war with himself and all his subordinates, sat staring. 
Below him lay the slender valley of the Chickamauga. Clear, sinu- 
ous, the little stream ran between overbending shrubs and trees. 
A vague purple mist hung over the valley and the tree-clad slopes 
beyond. The knot of horsemen fell silent, there in the oak scrub, 
looking at the folds of the Cumberland Range. Past them on the 
Lafayette road marched endlessly the Army of Tennessee. Tanned 
and gaunt, ragged and cheerful, moving out from Chattanooga, but 
moving out, there was assurance, to give fight, by went the grey, 
patient, hardy legions, corps of Hill, Polk, Buckner, and Walker, 
divisions of Cheatham, Cleburne, Breckinridge, Liddell, Hindman, 



226 CEASE FIRING 

Busfarod Johnson, Preston, and Stewart. Colours, mounted officers, 
grey foot soldiers and grey foot soldiers and grey foot soldiers, the 
rumbling guns, old, courageous battalions, on they went, endlessly. 
The dust rose and clothed them; the purple mountains made a 
dreamy background. The party, sitting their horses on the scrub- 
covered low hill, looked again westward. 

Bragg spoke to one of his corps commanders, Leonidas Polk, 
bishop and general. "Chickamauga! This was Cherokee country, 
was n't it ? " 

"Yes, General. Cherokee Georgia. Chief Ross had his house 
near here. 'Chickamauga' means River of Death. For ages they 
must have gone up and down, over these ridges and through these 
vales, hunting and warring, camping and breaking camp — " 

"Killing and being killed. We've only changed the colour, not 
the actuality. McLemore'sCove! The scouts think that Rosecrans 
is going to push a column across Missionary Ridge and occupy 
McLemore's Cove. I think they are mistaken. They are often mis- 
taken." 

"General Forrest—" 

"He is near Ringgold, I suppose. General Forrest does not keep 
me properly informed as to where he is — " 

Cleburne came in with his rich Irish voice. "Well, that would 
make quite a shower of notes, would n't it, sir ? " 

"I have never had the pleasure of meeting General Forrest," said 
D. H. Hill. "He must be a remarkable man." 

"He is a military genius of the first order," said Cleburne. 

Bragg continued to gaze upon the Chickamauga. " The three gaps 
in Pigeon Mountain are Bluebird and Dug and Catlett's. We will 
of course hold these, and if Crittenden or Thomas is really in Mc- 
Lemore's Cove, I will dispatch a force against them. General Long- 
street's arrival cannot now be long delayed." 

Longstreet, traveUing from Louisa Court-House in Virginia by 
Petersburg, Wilmington, Augusta, and Atlanta, because Bumside 
held the shorter Knoxville route, had in all nine hundred miles to 
traverse, and to serve him and his corps but one single-track, war- 
worn grey railroad of dejected behaviour. Lone and lorn as was the 
railroad, it rose to the emergency and deserved the cheers with 
which, after long days of companionship, Longstreet's troops finally 



CHICK AM AUGA 227 

quitted the rails. On the sixteenth the regiments of Hood began to 
arrive at Dalton. On this day also Rosecrans, a tenacious, able gen- 
eral, completed the drawing of his lines — eleven miles, northeast 
to southwest — from Lee and Gordon's Mills on the east bank of 
Chickamauga to Stevens's Gap in Lookout Mountain. 

On the eighteenth, General Bragg, at Lafayette, issued the fol- 
lowing order: — 

"i. Bushrod Johnson's column, on crossing at or near Reed's 
Bridge will turn to the left by the most practical route, and sweep 
up the Chickamauga toward Lee and Gordon's Mills. 

"2. Walker, crossing at Alexander's Bridge, will unite in this 
move, and push vigorously on the enemy's flank and rear in the 
same direction. 

"3. Buckner, crossing at Tedford's Ford, will join in the move- 
ment to the left, and press the enemy up the stream from Polk's 
front at Lee and Gordon's. 

"4. Polk will press his forces to the front of Lee and Gordon's 
Mills, and if met by too much resistance to cross, will bear to the 
right and cross at Dalton 's Ford or at Tedford's, as may be neces- 
sary, and join the attack wherever the enemy may be. 

"5. Hill will cover our left flank from an advance of the enemy 
from the cove, and by pressing the cavalry on his front, ascertain 
if the enemy is reinforcing at Lee and Gordon's Mills, in which event 
he will attack them in flank. 

"6. Wheeler's cavalry will hold the gaps in Pigeon Mountain, 
and cover our rear and left and bring up stragglers. 

"7. All teams, etc., not with the troops should go toward Ring- 
gold and Dalton beyond Taylor's Ridge. AH cooking should be 
done at the trains. Rations when cooked will be forwarded to the 
troops. 

"8. The above movements will be executed with the utmost 
promptness, vigour, and persistence." 

"That's an excellent order," said D. H. Hill. "The only fault to 
be found with it is that it's excellent-too-late. Some days ago was 
the proper date. Then we could have dealt with them piecemeal; 
now they're fifty thousand men behind breastworks." 



228 CEASE FIRING 

The aide wagged his head. " Even so, we can beat them, General." 
D. H. Hill looked at him a little sardonically. "Of course, of course, 
we can beat them ! But have you noticed how many men we lose 
in beating them ? And have you any idea how we are to continue to 
get men? It takes time to grow oaks and men. What the South 
needs is some Cadmus to break the teeth out of skulls, sow them, 
and raise overnight a crop of armed men ! There are plenty of skulls, 
God knows! We are seeing in our day a curious phenomenon. Armies 
are growing younger. We are galloping toward the cradle. The V. 
M. I. Cadets will be out presently, and then the nine- and ten- 
year-olds. Of course the women might come on afterwards, though, 
to tell the truth," said Hill, " they 've been in the field from the first." 

"Here's General Forrest." 

Forrest rode up. " General Hill, ain't it ? Good morning, sir. 
I am going to fight my men dismounted. This is going to be an 
infantry battle." 

" I have heard. General," said Hill, " that you have never lost 
a fight. How do you manage it ? " 

"I git there first with the most men." 
^ "You don't hold then with throwing in troops piecemeal ?" 

"No," said Forrest, with a kind of violence. "You kin play the 
banjo all right with one finger after another, but in war I clutch with 
the whole hand!" 

He rode on, a strange figure, an uneducated countryman, behind 
him no military training or influence, no West Point; a man of 
violences and magnanimities, a big, smoky personality, here dark, 
here clearly, broadly lighted. "He was born a soldier as men are 
born poets." "Forrest!" said General Joseph E. Johnston long af- 
terwards. " Had Forrest had the advantage of a military education 
and training, he would have been the great central figure of the war ! " 

The sun of the eighteenth of September sank behind the moun- 
tains. A cool night wind sprang up, sighing through the bronzing 
wood and rippling the surface of the Chickamauga. Three brigades 
of Hood's division, marching rapidly from Dalton, had come upon 
the field; with them Hood himself, with his splendid personal reputa- 
tion, his blue eyes and yellow hair and headlong courage. He had 
now his three brigades and three of Bushrod Johnson's. That church- 
man militant, Leonidas Polk, held the centre at Lee and Gordon's 



CHICKAMAUGA 229 

Mills, and D. H. Hill the left. Joseph Wheeler and his cavalry 
watched the left flank, Forrest and his cavalry the right. 

The country was rough, the roads few and poor, the fords of the 
Chickamauga in the same category. Dusk of the eighteenth found 
Hood and Walker across the stream, but other divisions with the 
fords yet to make. At dawn of the nineteenth, the Army of the Cum- 
berland began to put itself into position. In the faint light the out- 
posts of the blue caught sight of Buckner's division fording the 
Chickamauga at Tedford's. In the mist and dimness they thought 
they saw only a small detached grey force. Three brigades of Bran- 
nan's division were at once put forward. In the first pink light Buck- 
ner's advanced brigade clashed with Croxton's. With a burst of 
soimd like an explosion in the dim wood began the battle of Chicka- 
mauga — one of the worst in history, twice bloodier than Wagram, 
than Marengo, than Austerlitz, higher in its two days' fallen than 
Sharpsburg, a terrible, piteous fight. 

Forrest, on the right, was immediately engaged. "We've stirred 
up a yaller-jacket's nest," he said, and sent to General Polk a re- 
quest for Armstrong's division of his own corps. The centre needing 
cavalry, too, there was returned only Dibbrell's brigade. Dibbrell's 
men were dismounted, and together with John Pegram's division — 
also, in this battle, acting foot soldiers — began a bloody, continued 
struggle. The point of the blue wedge had been four infantry brig- 
ades and one of cavalry, but now the thickness was disclosed, and 
it fairly proved to be Rosecrans in position. While the grey had 
moved up the Chickamauga, that able blue strategist, under the 
cover of night, had moved down the opposite bank. The grey 
crossed — and found their right enveloped! The Fourteenth Army 
Corps, George H. Thomas commanding, was here, and later there 
were reinforcements from the Twenty-first, Crittenden's corps. The 
storm, beginning with no great fury, promptly swelled until it at- 
tained the terrific. Forrest sent again for infantry support. None 
came, the centre having its own anxieties. "If you want to git a 
thing done, do it yourself," quoth Forrest, and rode up to John 
Pegram. "We've got to have more fighters and I'm going to fetch 
them. Hold your ground, General Pegram, I don't care what 
happens!" 

"All right, sir. Neither do I," said P^am, and held it, with the 



230 CEASE FIRING 

loss of one fourth of his command. The pall of smoke settled, heavily, 
heavily! The dismounted troops fought here in the open, here behind 
piled brushwood and fallen logs, while the few grey batteries spoke 
from every little point of vantage. From the woods in front leaped 
the volleys of the blue, came whistling the horrible shells. The 
brushwood was set afire, the cavalrymen moving from place to place. 
They fought like Forrest's men. Rifle barrels grew too hot to touch; 
all lips were blackened with cartridge powder. There was a certain 
calmness in the face of storm, soUo voce remarks, now and then a 
chuckling laugh. The finger of Death was forever pointing, but by 
now the men were used to Death's attitudinizing. They took no 
great account of the habitual gesture. When he came to sweep with 
his whole arm, then of course you had to get out of his way! The hot 
day mounted and the clangour of the right mounted. Back came 
Forrest, riding hard, at his heels the infantry brigades of Wilson and 
Walthall. A line of battle was formed; Wilson and Walthall, Dib- 
brell and Pegram and Nathan Bedford Forrest advancing with a 
yell, coming to close range, pouring volley after volley into the 
dense, blue ranks. The dense, blue ranks answered; Death howled 
through the vale of Chickamauga. Wilson's men took a battery, 
hard fought to the last. The grey brigade of Ector came up and 
formed on Wilson's right. Fiercely attacked, Ector sent an aide to 
Forrest. "General Forrest, General Ector is hard pressed and is 
uneasy as to his right flank." Forrest nodded his head, his eyes on a 
Federal battery spouting flame. "Tell General Ector not to bother 
about his right flank! I'll take care of it." The aide went back, to 
find Wilson's brigade, on Ector's left, in extremity. Ector sent him 
again, and he found Forrest now in action, directing, urging his men 
forward with a voice like a bull of Bashan's and with a great, war- 
like appearance. "General Forrest, General Ector says that his 
left flank is now in danger!" Forrest turned, stamped his foot, and 
shouted, "Tell General Ector that, by God! I am here, and I will 
take care of his left flank and of his right flank!" 

On went the grey charge, infantry and dismounted cavalry. 
YaaaaikI Yaaaaihhh! Yaaaaiiihhhh/ it yelled and tossed its col- 
ours. Back it pressed the blue, back, back! The first hne went back, 
the second line went back . . . and then was seen through rifts in, 
the smoke the great third line, breastworks in front. 



CHICK AMAUGA 231 

George Thomas was a fighter, too, and he flung forward Brannan 
and Baird and Reynolds, with Pahner and Van Cleve of Crittenden's 
corps. Out of the smoky wood the blue burst with thunder, flanking 
Wilson and opening a furious enfilading fire. It grew terrible, a 
withering blast before which none could stand. Wilson was forced 
back, the whole grey line was forced back. Forrest's guns were al- 
ways clean to the front. They must be gotten back — but so many 
of the horses were dead or dying, and so many of the artillerymen. 
Those left put strength to the pieces, got them off, got them back 
through the brush in ways that could afterwards hardly be remem- 
bered. There was a piece entirely endangered — all the horses down 
and most of the men. Forrest shouted to four of his mounted escort. 
Cavalry dropped into the places of battery horses -and drivers. In 
a twinkling they were harnessed — off went cavalry with the gun 
through the echoing wood, the smoke wreaths, and the shouting. 
The grey went back not far: the blue but regained their first position. 
It was high noon. Then entered the fight the divisions of Liddell and 
Cheatham. 

Liddell had two thousand men. Bursting through the imder- 
growth they came into hot touch with Baird's re-forming lines. 
They broke the brigades of King and Scribner; they took two bat- 
teries; yelling, they pmrsued their victory. The smoke lifted. The 
two thousand were in the concave of a blue sickle, their line over- 
lapped, right and left — Brannan's men now and R. W. Johnson, of 
McCook's corps. Liddell, wheeling to the right, beat from that 
deadly hollow a justifiable retreat. 

Cheatham came over a low hill with five brigades. It was a vet- 
eran division, predestined to grim fighting. Down on the Alexander 
Bridge road he formed his line, then, as Walker's commands were 
pressed back, as the hurrahing blue colmnns swept forward, he 
entered the battle with the precision of a stone from David's sling. 
The blue wavered, broke! In rushed Cheatham's thousands, driving 
the foe, fiercely driving him. The foe withdrew behind his breast- 
works, and from that shelter turned against the grey a concentrated 
fire of musketry and artillery. The grey stood and answered with 
fury. The ground was all covered with felled trees, piles of brush- 
wood, timber shaken down like jackstraws. No alignment could be 
kept; the men fired in groups or as single marksmen. As such they 



232 CEASE FIRING 

strove to advance, as such they were mowed down. The blue began 
to hurrah. Palmer of Crittenden's corps came swinging in with a 
flanking movement. 

But Palmer's hurrahing lines were checked, as had been Bran- 
nan's and Johnson's. In through the woods, now all afire, came A. 
P. Stewart's division of Buckner's corps. Alabama and Tennessee, 
three thousand muskets, it struck Palmer's line and forced it aside. 
Van Cleve came to help, but Van Cleve gave way, too, pressed by 
the grey across the vast, smoke-filled stage to the ridge crowned by 
earthworks that like a drop-scene closed the back. The roar of battle 
filled all space; oflScers could not be heard, nor, in the universal 
smoke, could waved sword or hat be seen. Off to the right, Forrest's 
bugles were ringing. Now and then drums were beaten, but this 
noise seemed no louder than woodpeckers tapping, lost in the crash 
of the volleys. Alabama and Tennessee pressed on. It was half 
past two o'clock. 

Hood had three brigades of his own division and three of Bushrod 
Johnson's, and now, from the Lee and Gordon's Mills road. Hood, 
unleashed at last, entered the battle. Into it, yelling and firing, 
double-quicked his tall grey lines. He came with the force of a 
catapult. Yaaaik I Yaaaiiiihhk I yelled Tennessee, North Carolina, 
Arkansas, and Texas. They struck the Chattanooga road and drove 
the blue along it, toward the westering sun. Up at a double swung 
the fresh blue troops of Negley and Wood, Davis and Sheridan. 
In the descending day they pushed the grey again to the eastward 
of the contested road. 

At sunset in came Patrick Cleburne, general beloved, marching 
with his division over wildly obstructed roads from Hill on the 
extreme right. But it was late and the dark and smoky day was 
closing down. Night came, filled with the smell and taste of burned 
powder and of the wood smoke from all the forest afire. The firing 
became desultory, died away, save for now and then a sound of 
skirmishers. The two armies. Army of Tennessee, Army of Cxmiber- 
land, rested. 

They rested from strife, but not from preparation for strife. The 
two giants, the blue and the grey, were weary enough, but between 
Chickamauga and the slopes of Missionary Ridge they did small 
sleeping that Saturday night, the nineteenth of September, 1863. 



CHICKAMAUGA 233 

All night rang the axes. "Log-works," said the grey giant. "At 
dawn, I am going to storm log-works." Fifty-seven thousand strong 
was the blue giant and the grey about the same. "To-morrow's 
fight," said both, "is going to lay over to-day's." "Where," said, 
in addition, the grey — "where is General Longstreet ?" 

The soldiers who might sleep, slept on their arms, xmder a sulphur- 
ous canopy. All the forest hereabouts was thick with brushwood 
and simimer-parched. It burned in a hundred places. The details, 
gathering the wounded, carried torches. It was lurid enough, all the 
far-flung field. There were very many wounded, many dead. Blue 
and grey alike heard the groaning of their fallen. Ahh! ahhht 
groaned the forest. And the word that was always heard, as soon as 
the guns were silent, was heard now, steady as cicadas in a grove. 
Water! Water 1 Water 1 Water! Water! There was a moon, but not 
plainly seen because of the gauze that was over the earth. A chill 
and restless night it was, filled with comings and goings, and move- 
ments of large bodies of troops. 

Just before midnight Longstreet appeared in person. The weary 
grey railroad had brought him, in the afternoon, to Catoosa plat- 
form, near Ringgold. With two aides he took horse at once and 
pushed out toward the field of action. But the woods were thick and 
the roads an unmarked tangle. He came at last upon the field and 
met General Bragg at midnight. Behind him, yet upon the road, 
were three brigades of Hood's division and Kershaw's and Hum- 
phrey's, of McLaws's. 

There was a council of war. It was understood, it was in the air, 
that the past day had been but a prelude. Now Bragg announced 
to his oflScers a change of plan. The Army of Tennessee was divided 
into two wings. The right was composed of Walker's and Hill's 
corps, Cheatham's division, and the cavalry of Forrest. Leonidas 
Polk commanded here. The left was formed by Hood's and Buck- 
ner's corps, the division of Hindman, and Joe Wheeler's cavalry, 
and Longstreet commanded this wing. 

"And the plan of- attack ?" 

"As it was to-day. Successive pushes from right to left. The 
attack to begin at daylight." 

But daylight was not far away, and the movements to be made 
were many. The sun was above the tree-tops when Breckinridge 



a34 CEASE FIRING 

advanced upon the Chattanooga road and opened the battle of the 
twentieth. "Sunday," said the men. " Going to church — going to 
church — going to a little mountain church ! Going to be singing — 
Minie singing. Going to be preaching — big gun preaching. We've 
got what the General calls a ponshon for Sunday service. . . . Lot 
of dead people in this wood. Have n't you ever noticed how much 
worse a half -burned cabin looks than one burned right down ? That 
one over there — it looks as if home was still a-lingering around. 
Go 'way! it does! You boys haven't got no imagination. — No 
imagination — no imagination — No shoes and pretty nearly no 
breakfast. ... I wish this here dust was imagination — 

"The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home; 
'T is summer, the darkies are gay, 
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom. 
While the birds make music all the day." 

"Birds all fly away from battle-fields" — "Not when there are 
nestlings ! Saw a tree set on fire by hot shot from Yankee gunboat on 
the Tennessee. Marched by it when it was jest a pillar of flame, and, 
by gum! there was a mocking-bird dead on her nest, with her wings 
Spread out over the little birds. All of them dead. ... It made 
you wonder. And, by gum! the captain, when he saw it — the cap- 
tain saluted!" 

"The yoimg folks roll on the little cabin floor, 
All merry, all happy and bright; 
By 'n' by hard times comes a-knocking at the door, 
Then, my old Kentucky home, good night!" 

"Whew! That's a pretty line of breastworks over there before 
Helm's brigade! Reckon that's what Billy Yank was building all 
night long! — Helm's going forward — " Kentuckianst Charge 
bayonets I Double-quick! 

Helm was killed, heroically leading his brigade. The colonel of 
the Second Kentucky was killed, the colonel of the Ninth badly 
wounded. The Ninth lost a third of its number. "I went into the 
fight," says the colonel of the Second, "with thirty officers and two 
hundred and seventy-two men, and came out with ten officers and 
one hundred and forty-six men. Both officers and men behaved gal- 
lantly." The colonel of the Fourth was badly wotmded; the Sixth 
had its losses; the Forty-first Alabama went in with something over 



CHICK AMAUGA 235 

three hundred men, and lost in killed twenty-seven, in wounded, one 
hundred and twenty. Three captains of tie Second were killed at 
the foot of the works, and the colour-sergeant, Robert Anderson, 
having planted the flag a-top, died with his hands about the staff. 
Adams's Louisiana brigade came to the help of Helm. Adams, 
severely wounded, was taken prisoner. The combat raged, bitter 
and bloody. There was a long, long line of well-erected breastworks, 
with a shorter line at right angles. The divisions of Thomas fought 
grimly, heroically; the brigades of Breckinridge went to the assault 
as heroically. Nowadays no Confederate brigade, no Confederate 
regiment, had full complement of muskets. They were skeleton 
organizations, gaunt as their units, but declining to merge because 
each would keep its old, heroic name. Spare as they were, they 
threw themselves, yelling, against the log-works. Breckinridge was 
tall and straight and filled with fiery courage. Vice-President, on a 
time, of the United States, now grey general on the chessboard, he 
showed here, as there, a brilliant, commanding personality. His 
men, proud of him, fought with his own high ardour. The withering 
blast came against them; they shouted and tossed it back. Now 
there came also against the breastworks the division of Cleburne. 
Patrick Romayne Cleburne, — thirty-six years old, but with 
greying hair above his steel-grey eyes. Irishman of the county of 
Cork, one time soldier in the English army, then lawyer in the city 
of Helena and the State of Arkansas, then private in the Confederate 
army, then captain, then colonel, then brigadier, and now major- 
general, — Patrick Clebm-ne commanded a division that, also, had 
its personality. The division's heart and his heart beat in unison. 
"He was not only a commander, but a comrade fighting with his 
men." Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and the 
Irish regiment adored Cleburne, and Cleburne returned their love. 
"To my noble division," he wrote to a lady, "and not to myself, 
belong the praises for the deeds of gallantry you mention." Cle- 
burne's division had its own flags, and on each was worked a device 
of "crossed cannon inverted," and the name of the battle-fields over 
which it had been carried. "Prior to the battle of Shiloh," says 
General Hardee, " a blue battle-flag had been adopted by nae for this 
division, and when the Confederate battle-flag became the naticmal 
colours, Cleburne's division, at its urgent request, was allowed to 



236 CEASE FIRING 

retain its own bullet-ridden battle-flags. . . . Friends and foes soon 
learned to watch the course of the blue flag that marked where Cle- 
burne was in the battle. Where this division defended, no odds 
broke its lines where it attacked, no numbers resisted its onslaught — 
save only once — and there is the grave of Cleburne and his heroic 
division." Now at Chickamauga, Cleburne and forty-four hundred 
bayonets swung into battle to the support of Breckinridge. Before 
Cleburne, also, at short range, were breastworks, and now from these 
there burst a tempest of grape and canister, with an undersong of 
musketry. It was a fire that mowed like a scythe. Wood's brigade 
had to cross an old field bordering the Chattanooga road, an old field 
marked by a burning house. Crossing, there burst against it, from 
hidden batteries to right and left, a blast as from a furnace seven 
times heated. Five hundred men fell here, killed and wounded. On 
the left Lucius Polk's brigade came against breastworks cresting a 
hill covered with scrub oak. Blue and grey engaged with fury. Down 
poxured the blast from the ridge, canister and grape and musketry. 
Lucius Polk's men lay down behind the crest of a lower ridge, and 
kept up the fight, losing in no great time three hundred and fifty 
officers and men. Deshler's brigade moved forward. A shell came 
shrieking, struck Deshler in the breast, and killed him. Cleburne 
shook his head. "Too much loss of good life!" — and withdraw- 
ing the division four hundred yards, took up a strong defensive 
position. 

Breckinridge and Cleburne, there was loss of life enough. What 
was gained was this: Thomas called for reinforcements, and Rose- 
crans, to strengthen his left, began to weaken his right. To the aid 
of Baird and Johnson, Palmer and Reynolds behind the breast- 
works, came first a brigade of Negley's division, then regiments 
from Palmer's reserve, and then from the left troops of McCook 
and Sheridan. 

The divisions of Gist and Liddell, Walker's corps, moved to the 
aid of Breckinridge, Gist throwing himself with fury against the 
works before which Helm had fallen. It was eleven o'clock. Bragg 
ordered in Stewart's division. The three brigades — Clayton, 
Brown, and Bate — charged under a deadly fire, " the most terrible 
fire it has ever been my fortune to witness." Brown's men, exposed 
to an enfilade, broke, but Clayton and Bate rushed on past the clear- 



CHICKAMAUGA 237 

ing, past the burning house, past the Chattanooga road. They drove 
the blue within entrenchments, they took a battery and many 
prisoners. Thomas sent again to Rosecrans, and Rosecrans further 
weakened his right. His adjutant forwarded an order to McCook. 
The left must be supported at all hazards, "even if the right is 
drawn wholly to the present left." After Van Cleve had been sent, 
and Sheridan and Negley, there came yet another message that the 
left was heavily pressed. The aide bringing it stated that Brannan 
was out of line and Re3molds's right exposed. Rosecrans sent an 
order to Wood, commanding a division — 

" The general commanding directs thai you close up on Reynolds 
as fast as possible and support him." 

It was the fatal, the pivotal order. Wood moved — and left a 
great opening in the blue hne of battle. Toward the filling of this 
gap there moved with precision two brigades of Sheridan's. But 
some one else moved first, with a masterful change of plan, made 
with the swiftness of that glint of Opportunity's eye. 

Longstreet had made a column of attack, three lines, eight brig- 
ades. Long, grey, magnificent, these moved forward, steady as 
steel, eyes just narrowed in the face of the hurricane of shot and shell. 
"Old Pete," "the old war horse," rode with them, massively direct- 
ing. The smoke was drifting, drifting over the field of Chickamauga, 
over the River of Death and the slopes of Missionary Ridge. Under- 
foot was dust and charred herbage and the dead and the wounded. 
On the right the roar of the fight never ceased — Forrest, Breckin- 
ridge, Cleburne, Walker, Stewart, and George Thomas behind his 
breastworks. 

Longstreet with his eight brigades, swinging toward the right, 
saw, through a rift in the smoke, the movement of Wood and the 
gap which now, suddenly, was made between the Federal right and 
left. A kind of slow light came into Longstreet's face. "By the right 
flank, wheel I — Double-quick ! — Forward ! Charge 1 " 

Hood was leading. His line struck like a thunderbolt the foe in 
reverse, struck McCook's unprepared brigades. There sprang and 
swelled an uproar that overcrowed all the din to the right. McCook 
broke, the grey drove on. They yelled. Yaaaihl Yaaaihhhl 
Yaaaaihhl yelled the grey. Hood rose in his stirrups and shouted 
an order to Bushrod Johnson. " Go ahead, and keep ahead of every- 



238 CEASE FIRING 

thing!" Aminieball shattered his thigh. He sank from his horse; 
Law took command; on swept the great charge. Brigades of Mani- 
gault and Deas, McNair, Gregg, Johnson, Law, Humphrey, Ben- 
ning, with Patten Anderson, of Hindman's division, they burst 
from the forest into open fields running through smoky sunshine 
backward and upward to ridges crowned by Federal batteries. All 
these broke into thunder, loud and fast, but the blue infantry, 
surprised, broken, streamed across the fields in disorder. Behind 
them came the vehement charge, long, triumphant, furious, with 
blare and dust and smoke and thunder, with slanted colours, with 
neighing chargers, with burning eyes and lifted voices. All the Man 
of the South was here. Brigade by brigade, Longstreet burst from 
the forest. Yelling, this charge drove the blue from their breast- 
works, took the house that was their headquarters, took twenty- 
seven pieces of artillery, and more than a thousand prisoners, laid 
hand upon hospitals and ordnance trains, slew and wounded and 
bore the blue back, back ! McCook suffered heavily, oh, heavily! " I 
have never," says D. H. Hill, — "I have never seen the Federal 
dead lie so thickly on the ground save in front of the sunken wall at 
Fredericksburg." 

There was a line of heights behind the Vidito house, beyond the 
Crawfish Spring road. Thomas seized these, and here the blue rallied 
and turned for a yet more desperate struggle. It came. Hindman 
and Bushrod Johnson proposed to take those heights by assault. 
They took them, but at a cost, at a cost, at a cost! When they 
won to the Vidito house, the women of the family left whatever 
hiding-place from the shells they had contrived, and ran, careless of 
the whistling death in the air, out before the house. They laughed, 
they wept, they welcomed. "God bless you! God bless you! It's 
going to be a victory! It's going to be a victory! God bless you!" 
The grey, storming on, waved hat and cheered. "It's going to be 
a victory! It's going to be a victory! God bless you!" 

Up on the sides of the ridge it came to hand-to-hand fighting, a 
dreadful, prolonged struggle, men clubbing men with muskets, 
men piercing men's breasts with bayonets, men's faces scorched, so 
near were they to the iron, flaming muzzles! Over all roared the 
guns, settled the smoke; underfoot the earth grew blood-soaked. 
Inch by inch the grey fought their way; inch by inch the blue gave 



CHICK AM AUGA 239 

back, driven up the long slope to the very crest of the ridge. The 
sun was low in the heavens. 

On Horseshoe Ridge the fight grew fell. And now came to the 
aid of the right wing, came in long, resistless combers, the brigades 
of Hill. They came through the woods afire, over the clearings 
sown with dead and wounded, up the slope of Horseshoe. Once 
more the summit flamed and thundered — then the blue summit 
turned grey. Over the crest, down the northern slope of the ridge 
swept the united wings, right wing and left wing. They made a 
thresher's fan; before it the blue fell away, passed from the slope 
into deep hollows of the approaching night. Right .wing and left 
wing shouted; they shouted until Lookout Mountain, dark against 
the sunset sky, might have heard their shouting. 

On the field of Chickamauga, by the River of Death, thirty thou- 
sand men lay dead or wounded, or were prisoners or missing. If 
there were Indian spirits in these woods they might have said in 
council that September night: "How fierce and fell and bloody- 
minded is this white man who wars where once we warred! Look 
at the long files of his ghost, rising like mist from Chickamauga, 
passing like thin smoke across the moon!" 



CHAPTER XXI 

MISSIONARY RIDGE 

A LL day the twenty-first the shattered blue army lay in posi- 
A-\ tion at Rossville, five miles away. But Bragg, his army 
■^ ^ likewise shattered and exhausted, his ammunition failing, 
did not attack. At night Rosecrans withdrew to Chattanooga, en- 
trenching himself there. On the twenty-second, Bragg followed, and 
took up position on Missionary Ridge and along the lower slopes 
of Lookout. The blue base of supplies was at Stevenson, in Ala- 
bama, forty miles away. Cut the road to this place and Rosecrans 
might be compelled to evacuate Chattanooga. 

Bragg sent Law's brigade to hold the Jasper road. Wheeler, too, 
in a raid, wrought mischief to the blue. To the latter the possession 
of the Tennessee River and the building of a bridge became of 
supreme importance. Down the stream Rosecrans sent fifteen hun- 
dred men and a flotilla of pontoons, while a land force marched to 
guard them. Before the grey could gather to the attack the bridge 
was built. A day or two later came to the aid of the blue " Fighting 
Joe" Hooker and two corps of the Army of the Potomac. On the 
twenty-second of October, Grant arrived in Chattanooga and super- 
seded Rosecrans. 

There occurred the night battle of Wauhatchie, — four brigades 
of Hood's attacking Geary 's division of the Twelfth Corps, — a 
short, hard fight, where each side lost five hundred men and nothing 
gained. But now to the South to lose five hundred men was to lose 
five hundred drops of heart's blood, impossible of replacement. 
Men now in the South were worth their weight in gold. 

There came to the grey camps news that Sherman, with a con- 
siderable force, was on the road from Memphis. Hooker, with the 
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, was here. Grant was here. From the 
Knoxville side Burnside threatened. Action became imperative. 

Bragg acted, but not, perhaps, with wisdom. On the fourth of 
November, Longstreet's corps and Wheeler's cavalry found them- 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 241 

selves under orders for Knoxville. Longstreet remonstrated, but 
orders were orders. Grey First Corps, grey cavalry marched away, 
marched away. The weakened force before Chattanooga looked 
dubious, shook its head. Later, Bragg detached two other brigades 
from the thin grey lines and sent them after Longstreet on the Knox- 
ville campaign. Bumside was to be fought there, and here were only 
Hooker, Grant, and Sherman! 

Ten thousand infantry and artillery, five thousand horse, marched 
away. The loss at Chickamauga had been perhaps sixteen thousand. 
What remained of the Army of Tennessee had to hold an eight-mile 
line. It was a convex; right and left in hollow ground, the centre on 
the flank of Lookout Moimtain and the crest of Missionary Ridge. 
On the twenty-second, Grant began under cover certain operations. 

In this region the weather is mild, even on the twenty-fourth of 
November. A crimson yet burned in the oak leaves, and the air, 
though mist-laden, was not cold. Grey cliffs form a palisade on 
Lookout Mountain. Above is the scarped mountain-top, below, long 
wooded slopes sinking steeply to the levels through which bends and 
bends again the Tennessee. One grey brigade — Walthall's Miss- 
issippi brigade — was stationed on this shoulder of Lookout; below 
it steep woods, above it the cliffs, with creepers here and there yet 
scarlet-fingered. The day was tranquil, quiet, pearly grey, with fog 
upon the mountain-head. From early morning the fog everywhere 
had been very dense, so dense that men could not be distinguished 
at a himdred yards. It was known that affairs were on the point of 
moving. Walthall and his Mississippians were alert enough — and 
yet the day and the woods and the whole far-flung earth were so 
dreamy-calm, so misty-still, that any battle seemed impossible of 
quick approach. There was the odour of wet earth and rotting leaves, 
there was the dreamy, multitudinous forest stir, there was the vague 
drifting mist — the soxfl was lulled as in a steady boat. Walthall's 
men rested on the earth, by quiet little camp-fires. Their arms were 
at hand, but it seemed not a day of fighting. The day was like a 
grey nun. The men grew dreamy, too. They drawled their words. 
"This air a fine view, when it's right clear," they said. "Yes. This 
air a fine view. But when the Lord laid out the Tennessee River he 
surely took the serpent for a pattern! He surely did. Never see 
such a river for head and tail meeting — and I 've seen a lot of rivers 



242 CEASE FIRING 

since Dan Tucker rang the court-house bell, and we all stood around 
and heard Secession proclaimed. Yes, sir. I've seen a lot of rivers, 
— big rivers and little rivers and middle-sized rivers, — but I nev^r 
see a river twisted like the Lord 's twisted the Tennessee!" — "I 
wish," said a comrade, " that the Lord 'd come along and put his 
finger and thumb together and flip away those danged batteries over 
there on Moccasin Point — jest flip them away same as you'd flip a 
pig-nut. Kind of funny looking over there to-day anyhow! Ef Ihad 
a glass — " 

" Captain 's got a glass. He 's looking — " 

"So much fog you can't see nothing. There's batteries on the 
Ridge beyond Lookout Creek, too — " 

"I kin usually feel it in my bones when we're going to have a 
fight. Don't feel nothing to-day, but just kind of studious-like. The 
world 's so awful quiet." 

" Cleburne's men are away off there at Chickamauga Creek — " 

"Most of the enemy's tents are gone," said the captain, "and 
they have removed their pontoon bridges. When this fog lifts — " 

Walthall came by, talking to his adjutant. "As far as you can 
tell for the fog they are moving rapidly on the left. General Steven- 
son showed me an order from General Bragg. Stevenson has the 
whole defence on this side of Chattanooga Creek." 

"Do you think they will attack to-day ?" 

" Who can tell ? If this miserable fog would lift — " 

Crack I crack ! crack I crack I out of the woods to the westward 
rang the muskets of the picket Hne. Instantaneously, from the 
batteries on Moccasin [Point, from the batteries on the ridge over 
the creek, sprang a leap of light that tore the fog. Followed thunder, 
and the ploughing of shells into the earth of Lookout. The grey 
brigade sprang to arms. In tumbled the pickets. "Yankees above 
us—" 

"Above — !" 

The Lookout cliffs were tall and grey. They crowned the moun- 
tain with an effect from below of robber castles. The November 
woods were so sere and leafless that in clear weather, looking up the 
long slopes, you would see with distinctness wall and bastion. To- 
day there was fog, fog torn by the crowding yellow flashes of many 
rifles. The flashes came from the base of the cliffs. They came from 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 243 

blue troops, troops that had crept from the west, around the shoal- 
der of Lookout, along the base of the cliffs — troops that were many, 
troops of Hooker's that had come up from the valley of Lookout 
Creek, stealing up the mountain in silence and security, in the heavy 
fog. Now they hurrahed and sprang down from among the cliffs. 
Many and ready, they dropped as from the clouds; they took the 
grey brigade in reverse. And with instantaneous thimder the bat- 
teries opened all along the front. 

The blue — Geary's division — came over the shoulder of the 
mountain in three lines. From time to time in the past weeks the 
grey had constructed rude works of stones and felled wood. Now the 
men fought from one to another of these; withdrawn from one base 
to a second, from a second to a third, they fought from facet to facet 
of Lookout. The ground was intolerably rough, with boulder and 
fallen timber and snares of leafless vines. Now the grey were upon a 
slope where the casemented batteries of Moccasin Point had full 
play. There was an old rifle-pit dug downward and across. It gave 
the men passing over this shoulder a certain vague and ineffective 
shelter. Walthall's men, forced from Lookout, came to Craven's 
house, and here, in hollow ground, made a stand and sent for rein- 
forcements. Pettus's brigade appearing at last, the fight was re- 
newed. It waged hotly for a while, but the odds were great. The 
November day spread its mists around. Mississippi and Alabama 
fought well on Lookout; but there was somehow a sinking at the 
heart, a dreary knowledge that Grant had perhaps a hundred thou- 
sand men and the Army of Tennessee a third of that number; that 
General Bragg was a good man, but not a soldier like Lee or Jackson 
or Johnston; that Longstreet should never have been detached; 
that there was a coldness in this thickening fog; that the guns on 
Moccasin Point were as venomous as its name; and that War was a 
nightmare oftener than one would think. Two months had passed 
since Chickamauga. That was a great battle, that was a great, 
glorious, terrible, hot-blooded, crashing battle, with the woods ring- 
ing and the blue breaking before you! This was not that. Two 
months of sickness, two months of hard picketing, two months of 
small rations and difficult to get, two months of dissatisfaction with 
the commanding general and his plan of campaign, of constant crit- 
icism, of soreness, of alternation between the fractious and the list- 



244 CEASE FIRING 

less, two months of fretting and waiting in an unhealthy season, in 
an unhealthy situation, — the Army of Tennessee was in a conceiv- 
ing mood that differed palpably from the mood of Chickamauga! It 
was ready for bogies, ready for — what? It did not know. At dusk 
the command that had been posted on Lookout, pressed backward 
and down throughout the foggy day, halted at the foot of the moun- 
tain, on the road leading outward and across a half-mile of valley to 
Missionary Ridge. Here in darkness and discontent it waited until 
midnight, when, under orders from Cheatham, it sank farther down 
to McFarland's Spring. At dawn it was marched across the lowland 
to Missionary Ridge, and was put into position on that solemn wave 
of earth. It found here the other commands forming the Confeder- 
ate centre. 

Patrick Cleburne, ordered with his di\dsion after Longstreet on the 
Knoxville expedition, received at Chickamauga Station a telegram 
from the general commanding. "We are heavily engaged. Move 
up rapidly to these headquarters." 

Cleburne moved. That night, the night of the twenty-third, he 
spent immediately behind Missionary Ridge. With the first light he 
began to construct defences. It was known now that in great force 
Grant had crossed the Tennessee, both above and below Chicka- 
mauga. It was known that the great blue army. Grant with Sher- 
man and Hooker, had burst from Chattanooga like a stream in 
freshet; the dark blue waves were seen wherever the fog parted. 
They coloured all the lowland; they lifted themselves toward the 
heights. Already the waves had taken Lookout; already they were 
lapping against the foot of Missionary. Cleburne held the hollow 
ground on the right of Missionary, near the tunnel of the East 
Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. His orders were to hold this right 
at all hazards. Cleburne obeyed. There was a detached ridge which 
he wished to gain before the blue, now rapidly advancing, should 
gain it. He sent Smith's Texas brigade, but the blue had greatly the 
start. When the Texans reached the foot of the ridge, they were 
fired upon from the top. Smith, turned by his right flank, climbed 
Missionary Ridge and took position upon its crest. 

Below, in the hollow ground stretching toward the Chickamauga, 
Cleburne disposed the remainder of his troops. Hardee, experi- 
enced, able, stanch, came and approved. They burned a bridge 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 245 

across the Chickamauga. Dark was now at hand. The fog was 
disappearing, but the flames from the burning bridge had a curious, 
blurred, yellow, heatless effect. An aide came up with news. 

"They've overrun Lookout, sir. Our men there have come over 
to Missionary." 

"What loss?" 

"I don't know, sir. Some one said they came like driftwood. I 
know that there's a flood gaining on us." 

"Where there's a flood," said Cleburne, "thank the Saints, 
there's usually an Ark! Set the axes to work. Major. We're going 
to run a breastwork along here." 

There was that night an eclipse of the moon. The men who were 
making the breastwork stopped their work when the blackness be- 
gan to steal across. They watched it with a curious look upon their 
lifted faces. "That thar moon," said a man, — " that thar moon is 
the Confederacy, and that thar thing that's stealing across it — 
that thar thing's the End!" 

"That ain't the kind of talk — " 

"Yes, it is the kind of talk! When you've come to the End, I 
want to know it. I ain't a-going to stop building breastworks and 
I ain't a-going to stop biting cartridges, but I want to know it. I 
want to be able to point my finger and say, 'Thar's the End.'" 

The black moved farther upon the silver shield. All the soldiers 
rested on their axes and looked upon it. "When the Confederacy 
ends I want to end, too, — right then and thar and hand in hand! 
But the Confederacy ain't going to end. I reckon we've given it 
enough blood to keep it going!" 

But the first speaker remained a pessimist. "What we give our 
blood to is the earth and the sea. We don't give no blood to the 
Confederacy. The Confederacy ain't gaining blood; she's losing 
blood — drop by drop out of every vein. She lost a deal at Chicka- 
mauga and she 's going to lose a deal — " 

"The black is three quarters over. God! ain't it eerie ?" 

"The man that says ihe Confederacy is going to end is a damned 
coward and traitor! That thing up there ain't nothing but a passing 
shadow — " 

Cleburne came by. "Too dark to dig, boys? Never mind! 
There '11 be light enough by and by." 



246 CEASE FIRING 

The black veil drew across, then slowly passed. Cold and bright 
the moon looked down. Cleburne's men built their breastwork, 
then, straightening themselves, wiped with the back of their hands 
the sweat from their brows. Their work had made them warm, but 
now was felt the mortal chill of the hour before dawn. The woods 
began to sigh. They made a mysterious, trembling sound beneath 
the concave of the sky. The sky paled; on the east above the leaf- 
less trees came a wash of purple, desolate and withdrawn. The 
November day broke slowly. There was a mist. It rose from the 
streams, it hung upon bush and tree, it hid enemy from enemy, it 
almost hid friend from friend. 

With the light came skirmishing, and at sunrise the batteries 
opened from the ridge the blue had seized. At ten o'clock there ar- 
rived the Federal advance upon this front. It came through the light 
mist, in two long lines of battle. Its bands were playing. Davis's 
division, three divisions of Sherman's, Eleventh Corps of the Army 
of the Potomac, Sherman commanding all. There was a hill near the 
tunnel, and Cleburne held this and the woodland rolling from the 
right. He had guns in position above the tunnel gaping like a black 
mouth in the hillside, gaping at the hurrahing rush of Sherman's 
men. 

All day on this right the conflict howled. Hardee and Hardee's 
corps were cool and stanch; Cleburne was a trusted man, hilt and 
blade. Sherman launched his thunderbolts, blue charge after blue 
charge; "General Pat" flung them back. The sky was dark with 
the leaden rain; the November woods rang; Tunnel Hill, Swett's 
and Key's batteries, flamed through the murk; Texas and Arkansas, 
Georgia and Tennessee, grappled with Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio. 
All day, to and fro, in the leafless woods, under the chill sky, over 
a rugged ground, they swung and swayed. Now the blue seemed 
uppermost, and riow the grey, but at last the grey charged with 
bayonets. After this the blue rested, a sullen sea, held back by 
Txmnel Hill and all the grey-hued slopes around. The afternoon was 
well advanced, the smoke-draped woods dim enough. Cleburne's 
men smiled, nodding their heads. "That old eclipse wa'n't nothing! 
This Confederacy's immortal — Yes, she is! She's got a wreath of 
immortelles. — I'm going to ask General Pat if she has n't! You 
.artfllerymen did first-rate, and we infantry did first-rate, and if the 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 247 

cavalry had n't been sent away I reckon they'd have done as well as 
it Kes in cavalry to do. — Now, if the centre and the left — " 

A courier came over stock and stone, pushing a foam-flecked 
horse — "General Cleburne! — Order from General Hardee — " 

Cleburne read: "General: Send at once all possible troops to support 
centre. It 's much in danger." 

Cleburne took Cummings and Maney and with them set face to 
Missionary Ridge. A little way through the darkening wood and 
a gasping aide met him — "From General Hardee, sir! They've 
pierced our centre. They 're on the Ridge — they 've overflowed 
Missionary Ridge. We're all cut to pieces there — demoralized. — 
General Hardee says, form a line so as to meet attack. Do the best 
you can for the safety of the right wing — " 

Missionary Ridge rose two himdred feet. It rose steeply, with a 
narrow plateau a-top. It was seamed with gullies, shaggy with woods. 
In places, however, the wood had been cleared, leaving the stumps of 
trees, gaxmt, with sere, slippery grass between. At the foot of the 
Ridge were grey works, and now, within the last twenty-four hours, 
the grey had built other works along the crest. For lack of entrench- 
ing-tools and of time, they were sUght enough — a shallow ditch, a 
slight breastwork, dark against a palUd sky. Here, at the top of 
Missionary, and there at the foot, were gathered the Confederate 
centre, together with the troops driven yesterday from Lookout. 
Missionary Ridge was hke a crag, rising from a blue, determined sea. 

Officers looked at the lines. "What do you think of it ?" 

"Bad." 

"Even here at the top we don't command all approaches." 

"No. Those ravines are natural covered ways. They can come 
close and our guns never harm them," 

"Do you understand this order ?" 

"No. I don't—" 

"'Brigades to divide. One half to defend the foot of Missionary, 
one half to remain on crest. If the enemy attacks in force, fire once ' 
— that is, the force at the foot fire once — 'and retire to the works 
above — ' H'mmm!" 

This day was not the humid, languid, foggy day of yesterday. It 
was cool and still, but the sun was out. The Confederate centre, 
high on Missionary, saw to-day its foe. 



248 CEASE FIRING 

The foe was massing, massing, on level and rolling ground below. 
In the amber air it could be plainly seen. It was in two vast lines of 
battle, with large reserves in the background, and hovering skir- 
mishers before. The grey, watching, estimated its front, from wing to 
wing, as two and a half miles. Being formed, it advanced a mile and 
stood. Now it could be seen with extreme plainness, a blue sea just 
below. It had, as always, many bands and much music. These 
made the air throb. At intervals, like blossoms in a giant's garden, 
swayed the flags. The crest of Missionary watched. 

"They're the boys for an imposing advance!" 

"How many d' ye suppose they've got ?" 

"Don't know. Don't know about Ulysse-s. Xerxes had a million." 

"Hope they're all there. Hope they are n't trying any flank and 
rear fooUshness." 

"Hope not, but I wouldn't swear to it! I've got a distrust of 
Grant — though it may not be well founded, as the storekeeper said 
when the clerk and the till were found on the same train." 

" Wish there was water up here on Sinai ! My mouth 's awful dry." 

A man spat. " It 's curious how many this morning I 've heard say 
their mouth was awful dry and they felt a little dizzy — " 

"It's the altitude." 

"Six hundred feet? No. It's something else. I don't know just 
what it is — " 

Voices died. There fell a quiet as before a thunderstorm, an 
oppressive quiet. Missionary Ridge, its brows faintly drawn and 
raised, looked forth upon the sea. The sea stood broodingly quiet, 
without music now, the coloured blossoms still upon their stems. It 
held and held, the quietude. 

Far ofi a dozen cannon boomed — Sherman's sullen last attack 
upon Cleburne. The grey ridge, the blue sea, bent heads to one 
side, listening. The far-off iron voices ceased to speak. Silence fell 
again. Up on Missionary a lieutenant drew his hand across his 
forehead. When it fell again to the sword hilt the palm was wet with 
sweat, the back was wet. The lieutenant was conscious of a slight 
nausea. There was a drumming, too, in his ears. He took himself to 
task. "This will never do," he said; "this will never do — " Sud- 
denly he thought, "The men are looking at me" — and stood up 
very straight, smiling stiffly. 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 249 

Off on the horizon three cannon spoke, one after the other, with 
the effect of a signal. The sound died into silence — there followed a 
moment of held breath — the storm broke. 

All the great blue guns — and they were many — opened upon 
the grey centre. There burst a howling, a shrieking, a whistling of 
artillery. The sky grew suddenly dark. From Missionary the grey 
answered, but it was a far lesser storm that they could launch. So 
much the lesser storm it was that it may be said that Missionary 
early saw its fate, towering, resistless, close. The sea lifted itself, 
moving forward like a spring tide while the cannon shook the firma- 
ment. It moved so close that the face of it was seen, it moved so 
close that the eyes of it were seen. It came like the tide that drags 
under the rocks. 

Then was shown the fatahiess of that order. All the grey troops 
at the foot of Missionary fired with precision, one point-blank volley 
in the face of the sea. // they advance in force, fire once and fall back — 
If they advance in force, fire once and fall back. 

Only oflicers, and not all the officers, knew that the order was of 
hours' standing. As for the men, they only saw that after one volley 
they were in retreat. The lines above only saw that after one volley 
the lines below were in retreat. Over Missionary ran something 
like the creeping of flesh at midnight when the nightmare is felt in 
the room. The grey troops of the lower line began to climb. Before 
them rose the scarped earth, boulder-strewn, seamed and scarred, 
here with standing wood, here with crops of tree-stumps like dark 
mushrooms. Behind them wag the dark blue shouting sea, and all 
the air was mere battle-smoke and thunder. The artillery echoed 
frightfully. It was as though the mountains of the region were con- 
voluted walls of a vast shell. The vibrations were flung from one 
wall to another; they never passed out of that wildly disturbed, hol- 
low chamber. So loud were the cracks of sound, so steady the hum- 
ming, that orders, right or wrong, that encouraging shouts of officers, 
were not well heard. In the tormenting roar, with the knowledge 
of the lost left, in ignorance of Cleburne's dogged stand on the right, 
with a conception, Uke a darting spark in the brain, of the isolation 
of Missionary, of fewness of numbers, of a lack here of leadership, 
with a feeling of impotence, with a feeling of dread, the grey lower 
lines began to climb Missionary to the upper lines. At first they 



250 CEASE FIRING 

went steadily, in fair order. . . . Tlie siurges of sound and light 
filled the universe. A sudden message rocked through every brain. 
They 're coming after us, over the breastworks! Instantaneously the 
waves of light passed into waves of darkness. With a shriek as of a 
million minies came panic Fear. 

On the slopes of Missionary there was now no order. It was 
sauve qui pent. The blue tide overswept the breastworks and came 
on, and the grey fled before it. 

In this war it had come to the grey, as it had come to the blue, to 
retreat, to retreat hastily and in confusion, to retreat disordered. 
The grey, as the blue, had some acquaintance with Panic, had 
occasionally met her in the road. But to-day Panic meant not to 
stop at a bowing acquaintance. She aimed at a closer union and she 
attained her end. Each man there felt her bony clutch upon his 
throat and her arms like a Nessus shirt about his body. . . . 

Up — up — up! and the dark tree-stumps got always in the way. 
Men stumbled and fell ; rose and went blindly on again — save those 
whom the black hail from the guns had cut down forever. These 
lay stark or writhing among the stumps. Their pale fellows went by 
them, gasping, fleet-footed. Up — up — up ! 

The troops upon the crest, white-faced, tight-lipped, at last re- 
ceived the lower line, staggering figures rising through the murk. 
Officers were here, officers were there, hoarse-voiced, beseeching. 
There came at the top a wraithlike order out of chaos; there was 
achieved a skeleton formation. But many of the men had rushed 
below the Ridge, stumbling down into the protecting forest, their 
hands to their heads. Others fell upon the earth and vomited. Many 
were wounded, and now, memory returning where they lay sunk 
together on the level ground, they began to cry out. AH were as 
ghastly pale as bronze could turn, from all streamed the sweat. 
When they staggered into line, as many, Panic to the contrary, 
did stagger, their hands shook like leaves in storm. For minutes 
they could not duly handle their pieces. To the line a-top of Mis- 
sionary, the line looking down upon the mounting tide, they were 
as an infectious disease. It was horrible to see Terror and the 
effect of Terror; it was horrible to feel finger-tips brushing the 
throat. 

In the mean time the tide mounted. It had no orders to mount. 



MISSIONARY RIDGE 251 

It was expected, when the lower line was taken, that it would wait 
for some next indicated move. But always the higher grey line was 
raining fire upon it, the grey batteries were spouting death. It be- 
came manifest that the road of safety was up Missionary. On its 
top grew the nettle Danger from which only might be plucked the 
flower Safety. The blue kept on because that was the best thing and 
only thing to do. Moreover, they soon found that the guUies and 
miniature ridges of Missionary afforded protection. The whole vast 
wave divided into six parties of attack, and so came up the face of 
Missionary. 

"Who," asked Grant from the eminence where he stood, — 
"who ordered those men up the hill ?" 

He spoke curtly, anger in his voice. " Some one will suffer for it," 
he said, "if it turns out badly." 

But, for the blue, it did not turn out badly. , . . 

"When the thimder and shouting was all over, when the short 
desperate mSlee was ended, when the guns were silenced and taken, 
when the blue wave had triumphed on the height of Missionary, 
and the grey had fallen backward and down, when the pursuit was 
checked, when the broken grey army rested in the November forest, 
when the day closed sombrely with one red gleam in the west, three 
soldiers, having scraped together dead leaves and twigs and lit a 
fire, nodded at one another across the blaze. 

"Didn't I tell you," said one, "that that thar moon was the 
Confederacy and fiat that thar thing stealing across it was the 
End?" 

"And didn't I tell you," said the second, "that thar don't 
nothing end? Ef a thing has been, it Is." 

"Well, I reckon you'll allow," spoke the third, "that we've had 
an awful defeat this day ? " 

"A lot of wise men," said the second, "have lived on this here 
earth, but the man that's wise enough to tell what's defeat and 
what is n't has n't yet appeared. However, I'll allow that it looks 
Uke defeat." 

"Wouldn't you call it defeat if every army of us surrendered, 
and they took down the Stars and Bars from over the Capitol at 
Richmond?" 

"Well, that depends," said the second. "Got any tobacco ?" 



252 CEASE FIRING 

That same night Bragg crossed the Chickamauga, burning the 
bridges behind him. The Army of Tennessee fell back to Ringgold, 
then to Dalton. While at this place, Bragg, at his own request, was 
relieved from command. The Army of Tennessee came into the 
hands of Joseph E. Johnston. 



CHAPTER XXII 

DALTON 

ON the twelfth of March, 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was placed 
in command of all the Federal armies, and on the twenty- 
sixth joined the army in Virginia. He says: — 

"When I assumed command of all the armies, the situation was 
about this: the Mississippi was guarded from St. Louis to its mouth; 
the line of the Arkansas was held, thus giving us all the Northwest 
north of that river. A few points in Louisiana, not remote from the 
river, were held by the Federal troops, as was also the mouth of the 
Rio Grande. East of the Mississippi we held substantially all north 
of the Memphis and Charleston railroad as far east as Chattanooga, 
thence along the line of the Tennessee andHolston Rivers, taking in 
nearly all of the State of Tennessee. West Virginia was in our hands, 
and also that part of old Virginia north of the Rapidan and east of 
the Blue Ridge. On the seacoast we had Fort Monroe and Norfolk, 
in Virginia; Plymouth, Washington, and New Berne, in North 
Carolina; Beaufort, Folly and Morris Islands, Hilton Head and 
Port Royal, in South Carolina, and Fort Pulaski, in Georgia; Fer- 
nandina, St. Augustine, Key West, and Pensacola, in Florida. The 
remainder of the Southern territory, an empire in extent, was still in 
the hands of the enemy. 

" Sherman, who had succeeded me in the command of the Mil- 
itary Division of the Mississippi, commanded all the troops in the 
territory west of the AUeghanies and north of Natchez, with a large 
movable force about Chattanooga. ... In the East, the opposing 
forces stood in substantially the same relations toward each other as 
three years before or when the war began; they were both between 
the Federal and Confederate capitals. . . . My general plan now 
was to concentrate all the force possible against the Confederate 
armies in the field. There were but two such . . . east of the 
Mississippi River and facing north; the Army of Northern Virginia, 
General Robert E. Lee commanding, was on the south bank of 



254 CEASE FIRING 

the Rapidan, confronting the Army of the Potomac; the second, 
imder General Joseph E. Johnston, was at Dalton, Georgia, opposed 
to Sherman, who was still at Chattanooga. Besides these main arm- 
ies the Confederates had to guard the Shenandoah Valley — a great 
storehouse to feed their armies from — and their line of communi- 
cations from Richmond to Tennessee. Forrest, a brave and intrepid 
cavalry general, was in the West with a large force, making a larger 
command necessary to hold what we had gained in Middle and 
West Tennessee. ... I arranged for a simultaneous movement, all 
along the line." 

"On the historic fourth day of May, 1864," says General William 
T. Sherman, "the Confederate army at my front lay at Dalton, 
Georgia, composed, according to the best authority, of about forty- 
five thousand men, commanded by Joseph E. Johnston, who was 
equal in all the elements of generalship to Lee, and who was under 
instructions from the war powers in Richmond to assume the offen- 
sive northward as far as Nashville. But he soon discovered that he 
would have to conduct a defensive campaign. Coincident with the 
movement of the Army of the Potomac, as announced by telegraph, 
I advanced from our base at Chattanooga with the Army of the 
Ohio, 13,559 men; the Army of the Cumberland, 60,773; ^^d the 
Army of the Tennessee, 24,465 — grand total, 98,797 men and 254 
guns." 

Johnston took command at Dalton in December and spent the 
winter bringing back efficiency to the shaken Army of Tennessee. 
In his account of the following campaign, he says: "An active 
campaign of six months, half of it in the rugged region between 
Chattanooga and Dalton, had so much reduced the condition of the 
horses of the cavalry and artillery, as well as of the mules of the 
wagon-trains, that most of them were unfit for active service. . . . 
In the course of an inspection, and as soon as practicable, I found 
the condition of the army much less satisfactory than it had ap- 
peared to the President on the twenty-third of December. There 
was a great deficiency of blankets; and it was painful to see the num- 
ber of bare feet in every regiment. . . . There was a deficiency in the 
infantry, of six thousand small arms. . . . The time of winter was 
employed mainly in improving the discipline and instruction of the 
troops and in attention to their comfort. Before the end of April 



DALTON 255 

more than five thousand absentees had been brought back to their 
regiments. Military operations were confined generally to skir- 
mishing between little scouting parties of cavalry of our army with 
pickets of the other. . . . The effective strength of the Army of 
Tennessee, as shown by the return of May first, 1864, was 37,652 
infantry, 2812 artillery, and 2392 cavalry. ... On the fifth, the 
Confederate troops were formed to receive the enemy. . . . My 
own operations, then and subsequently, were determined by the 
relative forces of the armies, and a higher estimate of the Northern 
soldiers than our Southern editors and poHticians, or even the Ad- 
ministration, seemed to entertain. This opinion had been formed in 
much service with them against Indians, and four or five battles in 
Mexico — such actions, at least, as were then called battles. Observ- 
ation of almost twenty years of service of this sort had impressed 
on my mind the belief that the soldiers of the Regular Army of the 
United States were equal in fighting quaUties to any that had been 
found in the wars of Great Britain and France. General Sherman's 
troops, with whom we were contending, had received a longer train- 
ing in war than any of those with whom I had served in former times. 
It was not to be supposed that such troops, under a sagacious and 
resolute leader, and covered by entrenchments, were to be beaten by 
greatly inferior numbers. I therefore thought it our policy to stand 
on the defensive, to spare the blood of our soldiers by fighting under 
cover habitually, and to attack only when bad position or division 
of the enemy's forces might give us advantages counterbalancing 
that of superior numbers. So we held every position occupied until 
our communications were strongly threatened; then fell back only 
far enough to secure them, watching for opportunities to attack, 
keeping near enough to the Federal army to assure the Confederate 
Administration that Sherman could not send reinforcements to 
Grant, and hoping to reduce the odds against us by partial engage- 
ments." And later, of the situation in July before Atlanta: "The 
troops themselves, who had been seventy-four days in the immediate 
presence of the enemy, labouring and fighting daily, enduring toil 
and encountering danger with equal cheerfulness, more confident 
and high-spirited even than when the Federal army presented itself 
before them at Dalton, and though I say it, full of devotion to him 
who had commanded them, and belief of ultimate success in the 



256 CEASE FIRING 

campaign, were then inferior to none who ever served the Con- 
federacy or fought on this continent." 

And again, toward the elucidation of this campaign, General 
Sherman speaks: "I had no purpose to attack Johnston's position 
at Dalton in front, but marched from Chattanooga to feign at his 
front and to make a lodgment in Resaca, eighteen miles to his rear, 
on his line of communication and supply. This movement was 
partly but not wholly successful; but it compelled Johnston to let go 
at Dalton and fight us at Resaca, where. May thirteenth to six- 
teenth, our loss was 2747 and his 2800. I fought offensively and he 
defensively, aided by earth parapets. He fell back to Calhoim, 
Adairsville, and Cassville. ... I resolved to push on toward 
Atlanta by way of Dallas. Johnston quickly detected this, and 
forced me to fight him. May twenty-fifth to twenty-eighth, at New 
Hope Church, four miles north of Dallas. . . . The country was 
almost in a state of nature — with few or no roads, nothing that 
an European could understand. . . . He fell back to his position 
at Marietta, with Brush Mountain on his right, Kenesaw his centre, 
and Lost Mountain his left. His line of ten miles was too long for 
his numbers, and he soon let go his flanks and concentrated on 
Kenesaw. We closed down in battle array, repaired the railroad 
up to our very camps, and then prepared for the contest. Not a 
day, not an hour, not a minute, was there a cessation of fire. Our 
skirmishers were in absolute contact, the lines of battle and the 
batteries but little in rear of the skirmishers, and thus matters 
continued until June twenty-seventh, when I ordered a general 
assault . . . but we failed, losing 3000 men to the Confederate loss 
of 630. Still the result was that within three days Johnston aban- 
doned the strongest possible position and was in full retreat for the 
Chattahoochee River. We were on his heels; skirmished with his 
rear at Smyrna Church on the fourth day of July, and saw him 
fairly across the Chattahoochee on the tenth, covered and protected 
by the best line of field entrenchments I have ever seen, prepared 
long in advance. No officer or soldier who ever served under me 
will question the generalship of Joseph E. Johnston. . . . We had 
advanced into the enemy's country one hundred and twenty miles, 
with a single-track railroad, which had to bring clothing, food, 
ammunition, everything requisite for 100,000 men and 23,000 ani- 



DALTON 257 

mals. The city of Atlanta, the gate city opening the interior of the 
important State of Georgia, was in sight; its protecting army was 
shaken but not defeated, and onward we had to go. . . . We 
feigned to the right, but crossed the Chattahoochee by the left, 
and soon confronted our enemy behind his first Kne of entrench- 
ments at Peach Tree Creek, prepared in advance for this very occa- 
sion. At this critical moment the Confederate Government ren- 
dered us most valuable service. Being dissatisfied with the Fabian 
policy of General Johnston, it relieved him and General Hood was 
substituted to command the Confederate army. Hood was known 
to us to be a 'fighter.' . . . The character of a leader is a large fac- 
tor in the game of war, and I confess I was pleased at this change." 

But in the early Georgian spring, pale emeralds and the purple 
mist of the Judas tree, July and that change were far away. The 
Army of Tennessee, encamped in and around Dalton, only knew 
that "Old Joe" was day by day putting iron in its veins and shoes 
upon its feet; that the commissariat was steadily improving; that 
the men's cheeks were filling out; that the horses were growing less 
woe-begone; that camp was cheerful and clean, that officers were 
affable, chaplains fatherly, and surgeons benevolent ; that the 
bands had suddenly plucked up heart; that the drills, though long, 
were not too long; that if the morale of the Army of Tennessee had 
been shaken at Missionary Ridge, it had now returned, and that 
it felt like cheering and did cheer "Old Joe" whenever he appeared. 
Men who had been wounded and were now well; men who had been 
on fmrlough, men who had somehow been just "missing," came in 
steadily. Small detachments of troops appeared, also, arriving from 
Canton, Mississippi, and from norliern Alabama. The Army of 
Tennessee grew to feel whole again — whole, bronzed, lean, deter- 
mined, and hopeful. 

From northern Alabama came in March the th Virginia. For 

the th Virginia there had be?n the siege of Vicksburg and the 

surrender; then the long slow weeks at Enterprise, where the Vicks- 
burg men were reorganized; then service with Loring in northern 
Mississippi; then duty in Alabama. Now in the soft spring weather 
it came to Dalton and the Army of Tennessee. 

The village was filled with soldiers. The surrounding valley was 



258 CEASE FIRING 

filled with soldiers. From the valley, rude hills, only partially 
cleared, ran back to unbroken woods. There was Crow Valley and 
Sugar Valley, Rocky Face Mountain, Buzzard Roost and Mill 
Creek Gap, and many another pioneer-named locality. And in all 
directions there were camps of soldiers. Sometimes these boasted 
tents, but oftenest they showed clusters or streets of rude, ingenious 
huts, brown structures of bark and bough, above, between, and be- 
hind them foliage and bloom of the immemorial forest. Officers had 
log cabins, very neatly kept, with curls of blue smoke coming out of 
the mud chimneys. Headquarters was in the village, a white house 
with double porch, before it headquarters flag, and always a trim 
coming and going. At intervals the weary and worn engines, fed by 
wood, rarely repaired, brought over an unmended road a train of 
dilapidated cars and in them forage, munitions, handfuls of troops. 
But in the increasing confidence at Dalton, in the general invigora- 
tion and building-up, the tonic air, the running of the sap, the smil- 
ing of the world, even the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia, 
and the Western and Atlantic, roadbed and rolling-stock and force 
of men, took on, as it were, an air of lively instead of grim deter- 
mination. Outside of the town was the parade ground. Drill and 
music, music and drill, and once or twice a great review! Here came 
Johnston himself, erect, military, grey-mustached, with a quiet ex- 
terior and an afiectionate heart, able and proud. With him rode his 
staff. Staff more than worshipped Johnston; it loved him. Here, 
too, came the lieutenant- and major-generals — Hardee, one of the 
best — and Hood the "fighter," well-liked by the President — 
Patrick Cleburne and Cheatham and Stewart and Carter Stevenson 
and Walker, and many another good leader and true. Here the 
artillery, reorganized, was put through manoeuvres, and Joe Wheel- 
er's cavalry trotted across, and in the morning light the bugles 
blew. It was a lovely Southern spring, with soft airs, with dogwood 
stars and flame-coloured azalea, with the fragrance of the grape and 
the yellow jessamine, with the song of many a bright bird, build- 
ing in the wood. The Army of Tennessee, strong at Chickamauga, 
fallen ill at Missionary Ridge, convalescent through the winter, was 
now in health again. 

There was a small house, half hidden behind two huge syringa 
bushes. It had a bit of lawn no bigger than a handkerchief, and 



DALTON 259 

the bridal wreath and columbines and white phlox that bordered it 
made the handkerchief a lace one. Here lived Miss Sophia and 
Miss Amanda, gentlewomen who had seen better days, and here 
"boarded," while the army was at Dalton, Desiree Gary. 

Miss Sophia designed and carried out wonderful bouquets of wax 
flowers. Miss Amanda was famed for her bead bags and for the mar- 
vellous fineness of her embroidery. Miss Sophia was a master-hand 
at watermelon rind "sweetmeats," carving them into a hundred 
pretty shapes. Miss Amanda was as accomplished in "icing" cakes. 
Sweetmeats and wedding and Christmas cakes, embroidery, and an 
occasional order of wax flowers had for years "helped them along." 
Long visits, too, after the lavish, boundless Southern fashion, to kins- 
folk in South Georgia had done much; — but now there was war, and 
the kinsfolk were poor themselves, and nowhere in the wide world 
was there a market for wax flowers, and there was no sugar for the 
sweetmeats, and no frosted cakes, and life was of the whole stuff 
without embroidery! War frightfully snatched their occupation 
away. As long as they could visit, they visited, and they valiantly 
carded lint and knit socks and packed and sent away supplies and 
helped to devise substitutes for coffee and tea and recipes for Gon- 
federate dishes. But kinsmen had died on the field of battle, and 
kinswomen had grown poorer and poorer. One had made her way to 
Virginia where her boy was in hospital, and another had gone to 
Savannah, and another's house had been burned. Miss Sophia and 
Miss Amanda had retired up-country to this extremely small house 
which they owned. Beside it and its furniture they apparently owned 
nothing else. Even the stout, sleepy negro woman in the kitchen 
was a loan from the last visited plantation. Desiree, appl3ang for 
board, was manna in the wilderness. They took her — with faintly 
flushed cheeks and many apologies for charging at all — for fifty 
dollars a week, Gonfederate money. She had a bare white room 
with a sloping roof and a climbing rose. There was a porch to the 
house, all bowered in with clematis and honeysuckle. Miss Sophia 
and Miss Amanda rarely sat on the porch; they sat in the parlour, 
where there were the wax flowers and a wonderful sampler and an 
old piano, and, on either side the fireplace, a pink conch shell. So 
Desir6e had the porch and the springtime out of doors. 

Gaptain Edward Gary's beautiful wife made friends quickly. 



26o CEASE FIRING 

OflScers and men, the th Virginia had now for months rested her 

bound slave. It was not long before that portion of the Army of 
Tennessee that had occasion from day to day to pass the house 
began to look with eagerness for the smiUng eyes and lips of 
Desiree Gaillard. Sometimes she was out in the sunshine, gravely 
pondering the lace border of the handkerchief. Army of Tennessee 
lifted hat or cap; she smiled and nodded; Army of Tennessee went 
on through brighter sunshine. She was presently the friend of all. 
After a while Johnston himself, when he rode that way, would stop 
and talk; Hardee and Cleburne and others often sat beneath the 
purple clematis and, sword on knees, talked of this or that. They 
sent her little ofEerings — small packets of coffee or of sugar, once 
a gift of wine, gifts which she promptly turned over to the hospital. 
If they had nothing else, they brought her, when they rode in from 
inspection of the scattered camps, wild flowers and branches of 
blossoming trees. 

Edward came to her when it was possible. The th Virginia 

was encamped among the hills. Often at dusk he found her at the 
gate, her eyes upon the last soft bloom of the day. Or, if she knew 
that he was coming, she walked out upon the road toward the hills. 
The road was a place of constant travel. Endlessly it unrolled a 
pageant of the times. War's varied movement was here, the multi- 
plicity of it all; and also the unity as of the sound of the sea, or 
the waving of grass on a prairie. Troops, incoming or outgoing, — 
infantry, artillery, cavalry, — were to be found upon it. The com- 
missariat%ent up and down with white-covered wagons. Foragers 
appeared, coming in to camp with heterogeneous matters. Ordnance 
wagons, heavy and huge, went by with a leaden sound. Mules and 
negroes abounded — laughter, adjuration, scraps of song. Then 
came engineers, layers-out of defences and the clay-plastered work- 
ers upon them. Country people passed — an old carryall filled 
with children — a woman in a long riding-skirt and calico sun- 
bonnet riding a white horse, gaunt as death's own — sickly looking 
men afoot — small boys, greybeards, old, old negroes hobbling with 
a stick — then, rumbling in or out, a battery, the four guns very 
bright, the horses knowing what they drew, breathing, for all their 
steadiness, a faint cloud of brimstone and sulphur, the spare artil- 
lerymen alongside or seated on caissons — then perhaps cavalry, 



DALTON 26 r 

man and horse cut in one like a chesspiece — then a general oflBcer 
with his staff — couriers, infantry, more foragers, a chaplain bound 
for some service under the trees, guard details, ambulances, more 
artillery, more cavalry, commissariat, "Grand Roimds," more 
infantry. . . . Desiree loved the road and walked upon it when 
she liked. She grew a known figure, standing aside beneath a 
flowering tree to let the guns go by, or the heavy wagons; moving, 
slender and fine, upon the trampled verge of the road, ready with a 
friendly nod, a smile, a word — a beautiful woman walking as safely 
upon a military road as in a hedged garden. The road loved to see 
her; she was like a glowing rose in a land of metal and ore. And 
when a mile from town, perhaps, she met her husband, when, turn- 
ing, she came with him back through the sunset light, when they 
moved together, of a height, happy, it was as though beings of 
another race trod the road. There needed no herald to say, "These 
are gods ! " 

But much of the time Desiree was alone. She asked for work at 
the hospital and was given it, and here she spent several hours of each 
day. There were no wounded now at Palton, only the ill, and these 
in the wisely cared-for, steadily built-up army, lessened always in 
number. Suffering there was, howevex, now as always; moanings 
and tossings, deliriiun, ennui, pain to be assuaged, crises to be met, 
eyes to be closed, convalescence to be tended. In Dalton as else- 
where the Confederate -women nursed with tenderness the Con- 
federate ill. Desiree did hfer part, coming like something cordial, 
something golden, into the whitewashed ward. When her hours 
were over, back She came to the house behind the'syringas, bathed 
and dressed, and ate with Miss Sophia and Miss Amanda a Con- 
federate dinner. Then for an hour they sewed and knitted and 
scraped lint; then, wlien the afternoon had lengthened, she took the 
palmetto hat she had braided and went out of the lace handkerchief 
yard to the road and walked upon it. 

Miss Sophia and Miss Amanda had attacks of remonstrance. 
"Dear Mrs. Cary, I don't think you should! A young woman and — 
pardon us if we seem too personal — and beautiful! It 'snot, of 
course, that you would suffer the least insult — but it is not cus- 
tomary for a lady to walk for pleasure on a public road where all 
kmds of serious things are going on — " 



262 CEASE FIRING 

Desiree laughed. "Not if they are interesting things? Dear Miss 
Sophia, I stopped at the post-office and brought you a letter." 

Miss Sophia put out her hand for the letter, but she held to her 
text a moment longer. "I do not think that Captain Cary should 
allow it," she said. 

The letter was from Richmond, from the cousin who had gone to 
nurse her son. Miss Sophia read it aloud. 

My Dear Sophia: — 

I am here and George is better — thank God for all His mercies! 
The wound in the leg was a bad one and gangrene set in, necessitating 
amputation, and then came this pneumonia. He will live, though, 
and I shall bring my son home and keep him while I live! The city is 
so crowded, it is frightful. We in Georgia do not yet know the hor- 
rors of this war. I could hardly find a place to lay my head, but now 
a billiard-room in a hotel has been divided oS. into little rooms, each 
no bigger than a stall in my stable, and I have one of these. I go for 
my meals to a house two streets away, and I pay for shelter and food 
twenty-five dollars a day. Flour here is two hundred and fiity dol- 
lars a barrel. Butter is twelve dollars a poxmd. We live on corn- 
bread, with now and then a little bacon or rice. Yesterday I bought 
two oranges for George. They were eight dollars apiece. Oh, 
Sophia, it's like having George a little boy again! Two days ago 
there was a dreadful excitement. I heard the cannon and the alarm 
bell. George was a little light-headed and he would have it that 
there was a great battle, and that the boys were calling, and he must 
get up I At last I got him quiet, and when he was asleep and I went to 
supper I was told that it was a Yankee raid, led by an officer named 
Dahlgren, who was killed. The reserves had been called out and 
there was great excitement. We have since heard fearful reports of 
the object of the raid. The President and his Cabinet were to be 
killed, the prisoners freed and set to sacking the city which was then 
to have been burned. Oh, my dear Sophia, what a world we live in! 
I was in Richmond on my wedding journey. I feel dazed when I 
think of now and then. Then it wfas all bright-hued and gay; now it 
is all dark-hued, with the strangest restlessness! I never saw so 
many women in black. You always hear military soimds, and the 
people, for one reason or another, are out of doors in great numbers. 



D ALTON 263 

The church bells have been taken down to be melted into cannon. 
The poverty, the suffering, the crowding are frightful. But I do not 
believe there is another such people for bearing things 1 George is a 
great favourite in the ward. They say he has been so patient and 
funny. My dear Sophia, I always think of you with your plum- 
colour silk bag and your spools of embroidery thread! I wish I had 
those spools of thread. Yesterday I had to do some mending, and I 
went out and bought one spool for five dollars. — George is waking 
up! I will write again. If he only gets well, Sophia, — he and the 
country! 

Your affectionate cousin, 



Miss Sophia folded the letter. "Dear George! I am glad enough 
that he will get better. He was a sad tease! He used to say the 
strangest things. I remember one day he said that behind Amanda 
embroidering he always saw a million shut-in women sticking cam- 
bric needles into the eyes of the future. And he said that I had done 
the whole world in wax, and he wondered how it would be if we ever 
got before a good hot fire. — He was n't lacking in sense either, only 
it never had a chance to come out, Maria spoiling him so, and 
darkeys and dogs always at his heels. — No, dear Mrs. Gary, you're 
a young woman, and — you'll pardon me, I know! — a beautiful 
one, and I don't think Captain Gary ought to allow it!" 

March went, April went. May came. On the first of May, D^sir^e, 
walking on the road, thought she observed something unusual in the 
air. Presently there passed cavalry, a great deal of cavalry. She 
leaned against a wayside tree and watched- Presently there rode an 
oflScer whom she knew. 

He lifted his hat, then pushed his horse upon the dusty tiurf be- 
neath the tree. "We 're ordered out toward the Oostenaula! Sher- 
man's in motion. The volcano is about to become active." 

"Is it going to overflow Dal ton ?" 

"Well, it would seem sol Though sometimes there's a new crater. 
We'll see what we'll see. Anyhow, Gary '11 be sending you to the 
rear." 

"I'll fall back when the army falls back.^ 

Edward came that night and plead with her. She could go to 



264 CEASE FIRING 

Kingston on the cars and thence to Rome to the westward, out of 
the region of danger — 

"Edward," she said, "have n't J, been a good campaigner ?" 

"The best—" 

"Then, when you can do a thing well, why do something else 
poorly ? This is the way I am going to live, and when you wed me 
you wed my way of life." 

"If harm came to you, Desiree — " 

"And I might say, 'If harm came to you, Edward,' — I know 
that harm may come to you, but — I don't say it, and you must not 
say it either. With you is my home, my Cape Jessamine, and I am 
not going to leave it." 

"With you is my home, my Cape Jessamine — and all the gods 
know I love you here — " 

"I am not going to Rome. Let us walk a little, in the moonlight." 

The next day came in from Savannah Mercer's brigade of four- 
teen hundred. On the third the scouts reported a great force of the 
enemy at Ringgold. On this day, too, the cavalry pickets were 
driven in along the Cleveland road. On the fifth the great blue host 
formed in line of battle near Tunnel Hill. Over against them were 
drawn the grey. The fifth and the sixth were days of skirmishing, of 
reconnoissance, of putting forth fingers and drawing them back. In 
the first light of the seventh, under a wonderful sunrise sky, the blue 
army began a general advance. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE ROAD TO RESACA 

FOR seven days Rocky Face Mountain echoed the rattling fire. 
Milk Mountain behind also threw it back, and Horn Moun- 
tain behind Milk. Crow Valley saw hard fighting, and Mill 
Creek Gap and Trail Gap. Alabama troops were posted above the 
last two and on the top of the Chattoogata Ridge. Here they laid in 
line huge stones., ready for the throwing down when the pass below 
should darken with the blue. They made also slight breastworks and 
rifle-pits. At Dug Gap were stationed two regiments of Arkansas 
and a brigade of Kentucky cavalry. On the eighth, Hooker attacked 
these in force. Kentucky fought dismounted ; Kentucky and Arkan- 
sas together did mightily. Johnston sent to Hardee to dispatch aid 
to this point. Up to Dug Gap came Patrick Cleburne with Lowrey's 
and Granbury's brigades, Cleburne came at a double-quick, through 
the intense heat, up the rough mountain-side. The woods rang with 
fighting until the dark came down. Then Geary rested in the valley 
below and Cleburne on the heights above, and the stars shone on 
both. Stewart's and Stevenson's divisions held Rocky Face Moun- 
tain. Old Rocky Face saw tense fighting, stubborn as its own 
maie-up. Skirmish upon skirmish occupied the hours. Here, too, 
were breastworks and rifle^its, and the blue advanced against them, 
and the blue went back again, and came again, and went back again. 
All tihe time the batteries iept up a galling, raking fire. Pettus's Ala- 
bama brigade was at the top of the mountain, at the signal station. 
Brown and Reynolds and Gumming were lower down, toward the 
valley. And on the floor of the valley, here visible in square or 
roughly circular clearings, here hidden by the thick woods, was a 
host of the enemy. Morning, noon, and afternoon went on the skir- 
mishing. On the ninth occurred a determined assault upon Pettus's 
line- There was a bloody, protracted struggle, and while the moun- 
tain flamed and thiradered, the blue sharpshooters paid deadly 
attention to the brigades below of Gumming and Reynolds. The 



266 CEASE FIRING 

Alabamians on Rocky Face repelled the assault; down, down it 
sank to the floor of the valley. After an interval a line of battle 
appeared before Gumming. The Georgian threw forward skirmish- 
ers. There was a battalion of artillery — Major John William 
Johnston's battalion. Cherokee Artillery, Stephens's Light Artil- 
lery, Tennessee Battery, all came into action. The major com- 
manding — once the captain of the Botetourt Artillery, of the 
"homesick battery" of Chickasaw Bayou and Port Gibson — 
placed his gims with skill and saw them served well and double 
well. Together with Cumming's skirmishers the battalion checked 
the blue advance along this line. 

Hour after hour, day after day, continued the skirmishing to the 
west of Dalton. Now and again, among the slighter notes, struck 
the full chord of a more or less heavy engagement. But there came 
no general and far-flimg battle. There was loss of life, but not great 
loss, and all the attacks were repelled. Joseph E. Johnston watched 
with his steady face. 

On the afternoon of the ninth came the first indication that the 
blue, behind the long cover of the mountains, were moving south- 
ward toward Snake Creek Gap, halfway between Dalton and Resaca. 
Hood with three divisions was at once ordered upon the road to 
Resaca, where was already Cantey's brigade, come in the day before. 
Observing the grey movement, theblue advance by Snake Creek drew 
back for the moment. The air around Dalton continued smoky, the 
rifles to riag. The blue made a night attack, thoroughly repulsed by 
Bates'sdivision. On the eleventh arrived at Resaca from Mississippi 
Leonidas Polk with Loring's division. On this day Cantey sent a 
courier to General Johnston. Sherman's was certainly a turning 
movement, a steady blue flood rolling south by Snake Creek Pass, 
between Milk and Horn Mountains. 

Before break of day on the twelfth, Johnston sent Wheeler with 
two thousand cavalry, supported by Hindman, to the northern end 
of Rocky Face to reconnoitre in force. Was the whole Federal army 
moving toward Resaca, or not ? Rounding Rocky Face, Wheeler 
clashed with Stoneman's cavalry. After a sharp engagement, the 
blue fell back down the western side of Rocky Face. Retiring, they 
set fire to a great number of their wagons. The smoke arose, thick 
and dark, but the grey reconnoissance, piercing it, saw enough to 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 267 

assure it that Sherman intended no pitched battle at Dalton. The 
whole vast blue army was moving southward behind the screen 
of Rocky Face and the Chattoogata Ridge, south and east upon 
Resaca and the grey line of communications. Wheeler returned at 
dusk and reported. 

Night fell. The Army of Tennessee, after days of fighting, nights 
of alarms, lay now, in its various positions, in a world that seemed 
suddenly, strangely silent. The army, that was by now a philo- 
sopher, welcomed the moment with its quiet. It threw itself upon 
the warm earth and slept with the determination of the dead. Ten 
o'clock, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, one o'clock! A bugle blew — 
another at a distance — another. Drums began to beat. The Army 
of Tennessee rose to its feet. Marching orders/ The road to Resaca ? 
All right! 

Grey infantry, grey artillery, grey wagon-train, grey cavalry rear 
guard, grey stanch generals, grey stanch men, the Army of Tennes- 
see took the starlight road to Resaca, where were already Hood with 
the three divisions, Cantey's brigade, and Polk with the division of 
Loring. The night rolled away, the morning wind blew fresh, the 
streamers of the dawn flared high above the Georgia woods. The 
Army of Tennessee moved with a light and swinging step. Of this 
campaign a week had marked itself off, like a bead, half dark, half 
bright, on a rosary string. At Dalton, Atlanta lay a hundred and 
twenty miles to the southward. When the army came to Resaca, 
Atlanta was eighteen miles the nearer. 

Back in Dalton, in the house behind the syringas, there was pro- 
test. Miss Sophia protested with a waxen dignity, Miss Amanda 
with tears in her eyes. Both were so moved that they came out 
of the parlour upon the clematis porch where Desiree was super- 
vising the cording of a small hair-trunk. "Follow the Army!" 
cried Miss Sophia, and "Follow the Army I" echoed Miss Amanda. 
"Oh, dear Mrs. Gary, are you sure that it's wise — " 

"It's the wisdom of Solomon," said Dfeirde, on her knees. "Of 
the Song of Solomon. — Now, uncle, that's donel Can you carry it 
out to the wagon, or shall I help you ?" 

The ancient darkey lifted it. "No, 'm. I kin tote it." He went 
down the path toward the gate and an ancient, springless wagon. 

D&iree rose. Miss Amanda's tears overflowed, and Miss Sophia 



268 CEASE FIRING 

was so agitated that she leaned against the doorpost, and her thin 
old hand trembled where it touched her linsey skirt. " You 've been 
as good as gold to me," said Desirle. "I've loved this little house. 
I'm going to think of it often. Dear Miss Sophia> dear Miss 
Amanda, good-bye!" 

"Oh, it's not wise," cried Miss Sophia; "I feel that it's Hot 
wise!" 

"If you'd just quietly wait," said Miss Amanda, "until the army 
comes back through Dalton." 

But Desiree thought that that would be too long. She smiled and 
broke some purple- clematis from the porch to take with her, and 
then the two ladies went with her to the gate, and she ki^ed tiiem 
both, and they said " God bless you! " and she mounted the wagon; 
and from the place where the road turned southward looked back 
and waved her hand. The lace handkerchief yard and the syringa 
bushes and the shingled roof above- them sank out of her life. 

"I'se gwine tek de duht road," said the negro. "Less ob fool 
soldiers projeckin' erlong dat one!" 

The horse was worn and old, the wagon liie same. Out of Dal- 
ton, over trampled' fields, then between wooded hills, went, slowly 
enough, the wagon, the hair-trunk, Desiree, and the negro. "Don.' 
yo'fret, mistis! I'se gwine git yo' dar befo' de battle, I'se gwine git 
yo' dar befo' midnight ennyhow!" 

"What is your name ? " 

"Nebuchadnezzar, mistis." 

"And the horse?" 

"Dat ar horse name Julius Caesar. He good horse ef he bad 
emough ter eat." 

The day was warm, the sky a deep blue, all neighbouring; vegeta- 
tion covered with a tawny felt of dust. Trampling feet and tramp- 
ling feet of horses and men, wagon wheels and wagon wheels and 
wagon wheels, had gone over that road. It was a trough of dust, 
and when the wind blew it up,, a sandstorm would not have been 
more blinding. It seemed clear now of troops — all were withdrawn 
into the haze to the southward. As for the enemy, he must be mov- 
ing on the other side of the low mountains', unless, indeed, he were 
already in force at Resaca — and the grey were going into battle — 
and the grey were going into battle. 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 269 

"Julius Caesar goes pretty slow," said D6sir6e. 

There was little debris in the road or by the waysidie, no wrecked, 
lef t-behind wagons, little or no discarded accoutrement, few broken- 
down or dying horses, very few ill or wounded men, or mere footsore 
stra^lers. Johnston's movements were as clear-cut as so many 
cameos. He left no filings behind; he did not believe in blurred 
edges. He might place an aTmy here to-day, and the morrow might 
find it a knight's move or a bishop's or a rook's or a queen's away; 
but always it went cleanly, bag and baggage, clean-lined, self-con- 
tained, with intention and poise. If his army was in retreat, the 
road behind him hardly bore witness to the fact. 

Horse and wagon crept on toward Resaca. Morning wore to after- 
noon, very warm, very — "Nebuchadnezzar, what do you make of 
that dust before us ? I make smoke as well as dust. And now I 
make &ing! Listen!" 

"Reckon better tuhn back — " 

"No, no! Go on! When it is necessary to stop, we will stop until 
they let us by. It 's- rear guard fighting probably — " 

The cloud mounted. A few hundred yards and- a bullet came and 
sheared away a leafy twig from the oak under which they were pass- 
ing: It fell upon Diesiree's lap. A few yards farther, a second struck 
the dusty road in front of the horse. The confused semaiid down- the 
road swelled into tumult. 

"Gawd-er-mou^ty!" said Nebuchadnezzar. "Mus' git out ob 
dis ! Dey 're projeckin' dishyer way ! " 

"Drive into the bank!" ordered Desiree. "NoL there where it is 
wider! Don't be afraid! Look how steady Julius Caesar stands!" 

"Yass, 'm. Think I'll git out en hoi' him. — Lawd hab mercy, 
heah dey come!" 

They came like a storm of the desert, two colours,one driving, one 
giving back, but in so great a cloud of road dust and carbine smoke, 
and in so rapid motion that which was which and whose were the 
shouts of triumph was not easy to tell. The horses' hoofs made a 
thunder; all grew large, enveloped the earth,, brought din and suffo- 
cation, roared by and were gone. There was a sense that the vic- 
torious colour was grey — but all was gone like a blast of the genii. 
The wagon had been nearly overturned. Some one had ridden 
violently against it — then there had sounded a shout, "'Ware! A 



27© CEASE FIRING 

woman P' and the wild course, pursued and pursuers, ever so slightly 
swerved. D6siree, thrown to her knees, laid hold of the wagon edge 
and waited, but not with closed eyes. A colour was in her cheek; she 
looked in this torrent as she had looked upon the levee, above the 
Mississippi in anger. The torrent passed, the rage of noise sank, the 
choking, blinding dust began to settle. Nebuchadnezzar came from 
the lee skte of Julius Caesar. He was ashen, whether with dust or 
with fear. 

"Whoever in dey born days see de like ob dat ? Christian folk 
actin' de debbil lak dat! Hit er-gwine ter bring er jedgment! Yo' 
ain' huht, mistis ? " 

"No," said Desiree. "I felt as though something were bearing 
down upon me out of 'Paradise Lost.'" 

"What dat blood on yo' ahm ?" 

D6siree looked. "A bullet must have grazed it. I never felt it. It 
does n't hurt much now." 

They did not get to Resaca that night. Julius Caesar was too tired, 
the road too heavy, and one of Wheeler's outposts, stopping the 
wagon, insisted that it was not safe for it to go farther in the dark- 
ness. With the first fireflies they turned aside to a " cracker's " cabin 
in a fold of the hills and asked for hospitality. A tall, lean, elderly 
woman and her tall, lean daughters gave them rude shelter and rude 
fare. In the morning the wagon and Julius Caesar and Nebuchad- 
nezzar and Desiree went on again toward Resaca. 

To-day they overtook more limping soldiers than had been the 
case on yesterday. The wagon gave "lifts" to several and would 
have given more but that Julius Caesar was so evidently a weary 
and worn foot soldier himself. They came upon a bank topped by a 
pine tree, and under it, his arm overhanging the road, was stretched 
a soldier overtaken by a fever. His face was flushed and burning 
•hot, his eyes bright and wild. "Point Coupee Artillery!" he said; 
"Point Coupee Artillery!" over and over again. Desiree made 
Nebuchadnezzar draw rein. She got out of the wagon, climbed the 
bank, and knelt beside the man. "Point Coup6e Artillery!" he said. 
"Water 5 Point Coupee Artillery. Water!" There was no spring 
anywhere near. She had had a bottle of water, but had given it all to 
two soldiers a mile back. Together she and Nebuchadnezzar got the 
artflleryman into the wagon, where he lay with his head against her 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 271 

knee. "Point Coup6e!" she said. "Louisiana!" and her hand lay 
cool and soft upon the burning forehead. They carried hifla two 
miles, until they came to the house of a widow, who took the 
fevered man in and gave him water and a bed, and could be trusted, 
Desiree saw, to nurse him. Going on for a mile, they came up with a 
boy with a badly cut foot and a man with a bandaged head and his 
trouser leg rolled up to the thigh, bandaged, too, with a bloody 
cloth. Both were white-lipped with the heat and weariness, and 
Desiree and Nebuchadnezzar and Julius Caesar took them on upon 
the road. Desiree said that she was tired of riding and walked beside 
the wagon, and when they came to a hill, Nebuchadnezzar, too, got 
down ajid walked. The two honest stragglers, though worse for the 
wear, were cheerful souls and inclined to talk. "NearResaca? Yes, 
ma'am; right near now. It's mighty good of you to give us a lift! 
Old Joe certainly can't begin the battle till Robin and me get 
there!" 

Robin put in his oar. "Man on horseback came riding along 
awhile ago and turned off toward the Connesauga, an' he said that 
Loring met the Yanks yesterday as they were streaming out of 
Snake Creek Gap, and held them in check for three hours until 
Hardee and Hood came up and formed, and that then things 
stopped and were holding their breath on that line when he left — " 

"Old Blizzard 's a good one I Never '11 forget him at Fort Pember- 
ton I ' Give them blizzards, men ! ' says he. ' Give them blizzards! ' " 

"My husband was at Fort Pemberton. Were you at Vicks- 
burg?" 

"Vicksburg! Should think I was at Vicksburg! Were you, 
ma'am ? " 

"Yes. In a cave down by the th Redan." 

"I was down by the river, back of the Lower Batteries. Vicks- 
burg! We thought that nothing could ever happen any more after 
Vicksburg! But things just went on happening — " 

"Firing ahead of us," said the boy. 

It rose and fell in the distance to the left of the road. A turn and 
they came upon pickets. Followed a parley. " You two want to join 
your regiment, and the lady wants to get to Resaca? Resaea is n't a 
big place, ma'am, and the fighting's going to be all aroimd it and 
maybe through it. Had n't you better — " 



272 CEASE FIRING 

"No, I had n't. My husband is Captain Gary of the — — th Vir- 
ginia. I know, sir, that you are going most courteously to let me 
pass." 

When Desir6e Gaillard said "most courteously," when she smiled 
and looked straight and steady with her dark eyes, it was fatal. No- 
thing short of positive orders to the contrary would have kept those 
grey pickets from letting her pass. The wagon went on, and, having 
pierced a skirmish line lying down waiting, came, in the dusty fore- 
noon, to Stevenson's division, drawn up in two lines across and on 
either side of the Dalton and Resaca road. 

An officer stop>ped the advance. "There's going to be fighting 
here in five minutes! You shouldn't have been let to pass the 
pickets. You can't go on and you can't go back. They've got their 
batteries planted and they're coming out of the wood yonder. — 
There's the first shell!" He looked around him. "Madam, I '11 agree 
that there are n't many safe places in the Confederacy, but I wish 
that you were in one of them! You two men report to the sergeant 
there! Uncle, you drive that cart behind the hill yonder — the one 
next to the one with the guns on it. When you 're there, madam, 
you'd better lie close to the earth, behind one of those boulders. As 
soon as we've silenced their fire and the road's clear, you can go on. 
— Not at all! Not at all ! But it is extremely unwise for a lady to be 
here!" 

The eastern side of the hill offered fair shelter. Nebuchadnezzar 
took the old horse from the wagon and fastened him to a small pine. 
Desiree sat down in the long cool grass beside a grey boulder. Before 
her stretched rugged ground, and far and wide she saw grey troops, 
ready for battle. Johnston had wasted no moment at Resaca. With 
skill and certitude he flung down his battle line, horseshoe-shaped, 
Hardee holding the centre, Polk on the left bent down to the 
Oostenaula, Hood on the right resting on the Connesauga. Earth- 
works sprang into being, salients for artillery — hardy and ready 
and in high spirits the Army of Tennessee faced the foe. Through- 
out the morning there had been general skirmisMng, and now a 
fierce attack was in progress against Hindman's division of Hood's 
corps. It spread and involved Stevenson. The latter had the brig- 
ades of Gumming and Brown in his front Une, in his second those 
of Pettus and Reynolds. All the ground here was rough and tan- 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 273 

gled, rock-strewn, overlaid with, briars and a growth of small bushy 
pines. The men had made some kind of breastworks with rotted 
logs and the rails from a demolished fence. What especially an- 
noyed were the blue sharpshooters. There was a ridge in the pos- 
session of these, from which they kept up a perpetual enfilading 
fire, addressed with especial vigoiur against Cumming's line and 
against Johnston's battalion ranged upon a long hillside by Gum- 
ming. 

From the foot of her small adjoining hill, Desiree could see these 
pieces plainly. Elbow on knee, chin in hand, she sat and watched. 
Six guns were in action; the others, expectant, waiting their time. 
The horses were withdrawn below the hill. Here, indifferent, long 
trained, they stood and cropped the grass in the face of thimder and 
gathering smoke. The caissons were in line behind the pieces, and 
from them powder and grape and canister travelled to the fighting 
guns. They were fighting hard. From each metal bore sprang yel. 
low-red flowers of death. The hill shook and became wreathed with 
smoke. Through it she saw the gun detachments,, rhythmically 
moving, and other figures, officers and men, passing rapidly to and 
fro. Shouted orders came to her, then the thunder of the guns cov- 
ered all other sound. The antagonist was a blue battery on a shoul- 
der of the ridge and blue infantry somewhere in the thick wood 
below. This battery's range was poor; most of the shells fell short of 
the grey hill. But the sharpshooters on the nearer spur were another 
guess matter. Out of the tops of thick and tall pine trees came death 
in the shape of pellets of lead — came with frequency, came with a 
horrible accuracy. 

Desiree shuddered as she looked. 

"Oh," she cried. "Oh, to be God just one minute!" 

She found Nebuchadnezzar beside her. " Gawd ain' mixed up wif 
dis. Hit's de Debbil. -^ Dar 's ernother one struck! See him spin- 
nin' 'roim'. . . . Hit meks me sick." 

The battalion commander — twenty-five years old, brown-eyed, 
warm-hearted, sincere, magnetic, loved by his men — rode rapidly, 
in the rolling smoke, across the hilltop, from the guns engaged to 
those that waited. " Forward into battery! On Captain Van den 
Corput's left." 

He turned and rode back to the thundering battery. The smoke 



274 CEASE FIRING 

parted and he and his grey horse were plainly seen. A minie ball 
came from the wood and pierced his thigh. "This morning," saya 
General Stevenson's report, "was wounded the brave Major J. W. 
Johnston." The smoke of battle rolled over the hill and the battal- 
ion of artillery, and over the Dalton and Resaca road, and over 
Stevenson's division. 

Later, there was a great movement forward. Wheeler, ordered to 
discover the position and formation of the blue left, brought John- 
ston information which resulted in an order to Hood to make a half- 
change of front and drive the enemy westward. Hood, with the 
divisions of Stewart and Stevenson and supported by Walker, 
swept with his wild energy to the task. Stevenson in advance had 
the hottest fighting, but all fought superbly. At sunset the enemy's 
extreme left was forced from its position. 

From the top of a railroad cut near the Dalton road, Johnston 
gave an aide an order for Hood. "Prepare to continue movement 
at daybreak. Let the troops imderstand that fighting will be re- 
newed." Off galloped the aide and sought through the gathering 
dusk for General Hood, but missed his road, and after some search- 
ing came back to the railroad cut to find General Hood now with 
General Johnston. Hood was speaking: "The men are in wild spir- 
its! I am, too, sir, if we are going to fight to a finish!" 

Two or three prisoners were brought to the cut. Questioned, two 
refused to answer; a third stated that he belonged to Whittaker's 
brigade, Stanley's division. Fourth Army Corps; that the blue line 
of battle ran northeast and southwest, and that the blue army looked 
for victory. Wheeler rode up, received orders, and in the fading 
light drew his cavalry out along the railroad. Night was now at 
hand. Johnston and those with him turned their horses and rode 
rapidly from the right toward the left, back to headquarters, estab- 
lished in a small house behind Selden's battery. Here they found 
General Hardee. "All well with us, sir! They tried to storm Cle- 
burne's position, but signally failed! " 

" Nothing from the left ? " 

" There has been firing. Here comes news now, I think." 

Up came an aide, breathless, his horse bleeding. " General John- 
ston — from General Polk, sir! " 

"Yes, yes — " 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 275 

" They attacked in force, sir, driving in oiu: troops and seizing a 
hill which commands the Oostenaula bridges. They at once brought 
cannon up. General Polk is about to move to retake the hill." 

" The Oostenaula bridge! . . . The guns now!" 

The heavy firing rose and sank, rose again, then finally died in 
the now full night. The ridge commanding the bridge to the 
south, held by Dodge and Logan of McPherson's corps, was not 
retaken. Tidings that it was not came to the group by Selden's 
battery. And on the heels of this came another breathless mes- 
senger. "General — from General Martin! He reports that the 
enemy have thrown pontoons across the Oostenaula near Calhoun. 
They crossed two divisions this afternoon." 

Silence for a moment, then Johnston spoke crisply. "Very well! 
If he crosses, I cross. General Hood, the order for the advance at 
daybreak is revoked." He spoke to an aide. " Get the staff to- 
gether! — General Walker, you will at once take the road to Cal- 
houn with your division. Is Colonel Prestman here? — Colonel, the 
engineers are to lay to-night a pontoon bridge across the Oostenaula, 
a mile above the old bridges. General Hardee — What is it, Gen- 
eral Hood?" 

"Not to attack in the morning! General Johnston, do you not 
think—" 

"I do occasionally, sir. At present I think that General Sherman 
ardently desires to place himself in our rear." 

"We rolled them back this afternoon ! And if at dawn we accom- 
plish even more — " 

"Yes, sir, 'if.' You 'rolled back,' very gallantly, part of the 
Fourth Army Corps." 

"But, sir,— " 

" Circumstances, sir, alter cases. It was General Sherman's inten- 
tion to place a huge army astride the railroad here at Resaca. That 
intention was defeated. He proposes now to cross the Oostenaula 
and cut our lines at Calhoun. It is that movement that demands 
our attention." 

"I only know, sir, that it is expected at Richmond that we take 
the ofiEensive." 

"Yes, sir. Many things are expected at Richmond. — You have 
your order* General. Now, General Hardee — " 



276 CEASE FIRING 

An hour or two later, the commander of the Army of Tennessee 
returned with Hardee from the left toward which they had ridden. 
The two were friends as well as superior and subordinate. John- 
ston had great warmth of nature; he was good lover, good hater. 
Now he rode quietly, weary, but steadily thinking. The light of 
the house behind Selden's battery appeared, a yellow point in the 
thickened air. " How far that little candle . . . Hardee! I've had 
ten wounds in battle, but before this summer ends I 'm going to 
have a worse wound than any! " 

" I don't know what you mean, General," said Hardee. 

" Don't you ?"' said Johnston. " Well, well! perhaps I shan't be 
wounded. The stars are over us all. — Here is the house." 

As the two dismounted, an aide came forward. " There is some 
one waiting here, General, to speak to you. A lady — Mrs. Cary — " 

Desiree came into the light from the open door. "Mrs. Cary!" 
exclaimed Hardee. " How in the world — " 

Johnston took her hand in his. It was cold, and the light showed 
her face. " My dear, what is it — " 

"General," said Desiree, "I left Dalton yesterday, and to-day I 
got by the lines, and this afternoon into Resaca. And awhile ago, 

when the fighting had stopped, I found where was 's brigade 

and the th Virginia. And I went there, to headquarters, to find 

out if my husband was unhurt. His regiment was in the attack on 
the enemy's left. It was in the advance and it lost heavily. When 
night came and the troops were withdrawn, they took back with 

them all their wounded they could gather. But the th was well 

ahead, and the enemy was reinforced and threatening in its front. 
When it was ordered back it had to leave its hurt. They are there 
yet — they are there now. My husband is among the missing. . . . 

They were very kind, the colonel and General . They would 

not let me pass, but they asked for volunteers to go. Some brave 
men volunteered and went. They brought back a number of the 
wounded — but they did not bring back my husband. They said 
they sought everywhere and called as loudly as they dared. They 
said that if he were living — But I can seek better than they and I 

am not afraid to call aloud. General said that he would not let 

me go, and I said that I would bring an order from you that should 
make him let me go. I have come for it. General." 



THE ROAD TO RESACA 277 

"The enemy is very close to that front. They will fire at any 
soiind." 

"I shall go silently. Do I not want to bring him safely ?" 

"You would have to have men with you." 

"Three of those men said they would go again. But I said no. 
An old negro brought me in his wagon from Dalton. He is old 
but strong, and he is willing, and we can manage together." 

"If I let you go—" 

"I shall love you forever. If you let me go you will do wisely 
and rightly — " 

" It is not a time," said Johnston, " to measure by small standards 
or weigh with little weights. You may go." 

A host of stars looked down on the wooded hills and narrow vales. 
There was a space of about an acre where, long ago, trees had been 
girdled and felled. The tnmks of some still lay upon the earth, bare 
of bark, gleaming grey-white, like great bones of an elder age. Else- 
where there were mere stumps, serried rows of them, with a growth 
of mullein and blackberry between. There were stones, too, half- 
buried boulders, and in a corner of the field, pressing close to a rail 
fence, a thicket of sumach. 

Edward Cary lay in this angle. He had fallen at dusk, leading his 
men in the final charge. It was twilight; the grey wave went on, 
shouting. He saw and heard toother coming, and to avoid tramp- 
ling he dragged himself aside into this sumach thicket by the fence. 
He had a bullet through his shoulder, and he was losing blood beside 
from a deep wound above the knee. It was this bleeding that 
brought the roaring in his ears and at last the swoon. He had band- 
aged it as well as he could, but a bone in his hand was shattered 
and he could not do it well. He thought, "I shall bleed to death." 
After a while life and the content of life went to a very great dis- 
tance — very far off and small like a sandbar in a distant ocean. 
Time, too, became a thin, remote, and intermittent stream. Once, he 
had no idea when, he thought that there were voices and movement 
on the sandbar. He wet his lips and thought that he spoke aloud, 
but probably it was only La thought. All things vanished for a while, 
and when he next paid aj;tention the sandbar was very quiet and 
farther off than ever. The wind was blowing in the sumach on the 
sandbar, and a star was shining over it. . . . No! it was the light of 



27 8 CEASE FIRING 

a lantern. There were hands about his wound, and the sound ot 
tearing cloth, and the feel of a bandage drawn tightly with a bit of 
forked stick for a tourniquet, and then water with a dash of brandy 
at his lips — and then an arm beneath his head and a face down 
bent. " Desiree Gaillard," he breathed. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE GUNS 

MORNING broke with a heavy mist over Oostenaula and 
Connesauga, over Rocky Face and Snake Creek Gap, over 
the village of Resaca, over the Western and Atlantic Rail- 
road, over the grey army and the blue army. A keen, continual 
skirmishing began with the light. It extended along the whole front, 
but with especial sharpness upon Hardee's line. Some blue cannon 
opened here, and for a time it seemed that at any moment the main 
bodies, blue and grey, might crash through the fog into a general 
and furious battle. Stevenson's division, moving forward, reoc- 
cupied the position gained the evening before. Wrapped in the mist, 
wet with the morning dew, the men fell to work upon log and rail 
and stump defences. Hindman's line was next to Stevenson's, and a 
blue battery, well placed, was sending against Hindman, engaged in 
thrusting back a blue assault, a stream of grape and canister. Ste- 
venson, ordered to help out Hindman, sent MaxVandenCorput's 
battery of Johnston's battalion to a point eighty yards in front of his 
own line — a ragged hill, rising abruptly from the field, with a wide 
and deep ravine beyond. In dust and tiunder the battery came to 
this place; the guns were run into position, the guns were served, 
steady, swift, and well. "But," says Stevenson, "the battery had 
hardly gotten into position when the enemy hotly engaged my skir- 
mishers, driving them in, and pushing on to the assault with great 
impetuosity. So quickly was all this done that it was impossible to 
remove the artillery before the enemy had effected a lodgment in the 
ravine in front of it, thus placing it in such a position that, while the 
enemy was entirely unable to remove it, we were equally so, without 
driving off the enemy massed in the ravine beyond it, which would 
have been attended with great loss of life. The assaults of the enemy 
were in heavy force and made with the utmost impetuosity, but 
were met with a cool, steady fire which each time mowed down their 
ranks and drove them back, leaving the ground thickly covered in 
places with their dead. . . ." 



28o CEASE FIRING 

Along Hardee's line the white puffs of cannon smoke showed all 
day through. In the early afternoon came a courier with a note 
from Walker, now at Calhoun. "No movement of the enemy ob- 
served. Think report of passage of Oostenaula unfounded." John- 
ston read, then dispatched an order to Hood. "Prepare to attack 
enemy's left as indicated yesterday evening. Three brigades of 
Polk's and Hardee's will support." But later, as Hood was prepar- 
ing to move forward, there came a more breathless messenger yet 
from Walker. "Thefirstreport was true. General! They crossed at 
Lay's Ferry. Two divisions are over, and others on the way." 
Johnston listened with an impassive face, then sent at once and 
countermanded Hood's order. Stewart's division only was not 
checked in time. It attacked, and was roughly handled before it 
could be recalled. 

Lieutenant T. B. Mackall, aide-de-camp to General Mackall, 
chief of staff, kept a journal of the operations, during these days, of 
the Army of Tennessee. May fifteenth, 1864, he writes: — 

"... 7 A.M. General Johnston has been on hill where Selden's 
battery is posted since firing began; is just going to ride to the 
right, leaving General Mackall here. Skirmishing and artillery 
still going on. 10 a.m. General Johnston returned to Selden's bat- 
tery an hour ago. Answer sent to cipher of the President received 
yesterday: 'Sherman cannot reinforce Grant without my knowledge, 
and will not as we are skirmishing along our entire line. We are in 
presence of whole force of enemy assembled from North Alabama and 
Tennessee.' Ferguson's brigade of cavalry, also Brigadier-General 
Jackson have reached Rome. Wheeler has just gone to upper 
pontoon bridge, which wiU not be ready for crossing for fifteen 
minutes. It is in long range of the six-gun battery put up last night 
on the hill which they captured. 11 a.m. Very heavy musketry and 
artillery firing going on, apparently on Hindman's line. Just before 
it became so rapid General Johnston rode up the Dalton road, 
apparently on account of some news brought by Hampton from 
Hardee. About 11.15 battery on our extreme right opened. Firing 
slackened on Hindman's front. Battery on hill on our left enfilades 
our trenches; riflemen annoying to our gunners. 12 m. General 
Johnston has come back to Selden's battery. The firing on extreme 
right three quarters of an hour ago caused by enemy's crossing 



THE GUNS 281 

Connesauga in rear of Hood, capturing Hood's hospital. A brigade 
of our cavalry after them, supported by a brigade of Stewart's. 
Captain Porter, who went with General Johnston, came back. Says 
last reports represent our troops driving enemy's cavalry, i .30 p.m. 
Heavy musketry and artillery on Hindman's front; began about 
fifteen minutes ago. Lieutenant Wigfall has just come up to say 
enemy are making a very determined attack on Hindman. General 
Johnston preparing to mount to ride to Hood's. Firing continuous. 
3.30 P.M. Few minutes after writing above rode off to General 
Hood's with General Mackall, who accompanied General Johnston. 
Foimd Hood where Dalton dirt road and railroad are near each 
other and where we now are. Hindman, a few minutes after we ar- 
rived, repulsed the enemy, who came up in some places to his breast- 
works. Our reserves not used. Orders given for Stewart to take 
enemy in flank; for wagons which were sent back to be brought up 
to Resaca. Stevenson and Hindman to take up movement of Stew- 
art. Featherston brought from Polk's line, also Maney and 

from Cheatham. These supports came up in very short time. 
Stevenson, however, sent word that enemy in tlfiree lines were pre- 
paring to attack Stewart's centre. 3.40 p.m. (In rear of Stewart's 
line near railroad) Stewart directed to receive attack and pursue. 
But slight skirmishing now; enemy not making attack. 9.30 p.m. 
At house behind Selden's battery (headquarters at night). Orders 
given to withdraw from this place; arrangements made and trains 
moving. This afternoon, about 4.30 p.m., Stewart, in obedience to 
orders to attack if his position was not assaulted, advanced; soon his 
line was broken by a terrible fire of Hooker's corps, who were ready 
to attack. I had been sent to accompany Major Ratchford to Gen- 
eral Featherston (held in reserve) to order him in the General's 
name to take position in support of Stewart, near Green's house. 

"Monday, May 16. On Calhoun and Adairsville road, two miles 
south of Calhoim. While in field in rear of Stewart's line and near 
railroad last night, about dark, corps and division commanders 
assembled and instructions given to effect withdrawal of army to 
south bank of Oostenaula. Enemy had crossed force to south bank 
of river at Dobbin's Ferry; reported two divisions. Walker was fac- 
ing them, immediately in our front. He was entrenched, his line ex- 
tending from Oostenaula River to Tilton on Connesauga. ... In 



a82 CEASE FIRING 

two hours after Stewart's repulse, Cheatham, Hindman, Cleburne, 
etc., were assembled around the camp-fires. Hardee had been 
there all evening. Routes and times fixed; cars to be sent for the 
wounded; wagons and ambulances and most of artillery to cross 
pontoons above; troops and artillery on Polk's line on railroad and 
small trestle bridge; an hour occupied in giving orders, etc., and all 
dispersed, going to their headquarters. We rode in; wagons not 
brought over. After writing dispatches . . . lay down (sleeping on 
porch of house in rear of Selden's battery) ; waked by noise — firing, 
confusion, etc. ; saddle and mount. General Loring comes up ; all ride 
to roadside at foot of Selden's battery, passing through Hindman's 
column, going to railroad bridge. Cheatham's pass from his line 
over small trestle bridge below. Night cloudy. Firing of musketry 
and small arms on Hood's line, which was rapid and continuous on 
first waking, decreased. ,These troops (Cheatham's and Hood's) did 
not seem at all alarmed, rather noisy and in very good hxmiour. 
Enemy's line on river remarkably quiet. . . . Near Calhoun, 5.30 
P.M. Order given to send wagons back one mile and a half south of 
Adairsville. 6.30 ?.M. Our wagons parking; saddling. 

"Ttiesday, May 17. We reached Adairsville just before day, a 
little ahead of troops. Cultivated, rolling country from Resaca to 
Adairsville." 

Edward Cary lay, not in the hospital that was raided, but in a 
house in the village. It was a fairly large house, and upstairs and 
down it was filled with the wounded. The surgeons and the village 
•women had their hands full. He lay quite conscious, much weak- 
ened, but going to recover. There were a number of pallets in this 
upper hall where he had been placed. Ofiicers and men occupied 
them, some much hurt, others more slightly. A surgeon with a 
woman to-help went from bed to bed. The more frightful cases were 
downstairs, and from that region there came again and again a wail- 
ing cry from flesh and blood and bone under probe and saw. Out of 
doors the sun shone hot, and in at the open, unshaded windows came 
a dull sound of firing. The flies were bad. Two girls with palm-leaf 
fans, moving from pallet to pallet, struggled with them as best they 
might, but in the blood and glare and heat they settled again. The 
wounded moved their heads from side to side, fought them away 



THE GUNS 283 

with their hands. Desiree came up the stairs and into the hall. She 
had hanging at her waist a pair of scissors, and in her arms a bolt of 
something dusty-white. Unrolled at the stairhead, and cut swiftly 
into lengths, it proved to be mosquito netting. " I found it in a little 
store here. They did n't know they had it." 

The hot, bright morning went on. Outside the firing swelled and 
sank and swelled again. Sometimes it soimded far away, sometimes 
as though it were in the street below. The less injured, the reason- 
ably comfortable, listened with feverish interest. "On the right 
again! — Stevenson and Stewart have had the brunt. — No! that's 
centre now. — Clebimie, I think. He's a good one! Who 's passing 
through the street below? Old Joe ? Give him a cheer, whoever 's 
got a voice!" 

The morning wore on to hot noon. The village women had fur- 
nished kettlefuls of broth that stony necessity made very thin. Such 
as it was, it tasted good to the wounded who could eat and drink. 
For those who turned moaningly away their comrades had the divin- 
estpity. "Poor fellow! he's badly off! I reckon he's going to die — 
Do you remember, at Baker's Creek, how he fought that gvm all 
alone?" 

Hot noon wore into sultry afternoon. The sun went behind a 
smooth pall of greyish cloud. His going did not lessen the heat; 
there was no air, a kind of breathless oppression. In the midst of it, 
and during what seemed a three-quarter circle of firing, north, east, 
and west, surgeons and orderlies appeared in the upper hall. " We 've 
got to move you folk! Yankees marching on Calhoun and so's the 
Army of Tennessee. Six miles by rail and the wagons are ready to 
take you to the station. Cheer up, now! the whole Western Atlan- 
tic 's reserved for us!" 

The crowded wagons drew off, each in a dust-cloud. They jolted, 
the straw was thin in the bottom. The wounded tried to set their 
teeth, but many failed and there were groans enough. The surgeon, 
riding at the end of the wagon, kept up a low, practised, cheerful 
talk, and some of the less hurt helped as best they might the others. 
Desiree, because her eyes were so appealing, because she expected to 
go and said as much, was given place upon the bed of one of the 
larger wagons. She sat, curled up upon the straw, Edward's head 
upon her lap, her bent knee and the softness of her skirt easing, too. 



284 CEASE FIRING 

the position of a grizzled lieutenant with a bullet through his cheek. 
The line of wagons jolted through the dust to the station, where was 
the weary, rusty engine, and the weary, dingy cars. Six miles over 
that roadbed with green wood for fuel, with stalling and hesitations 
and pauses for examination, meant a ride of an hour. 

From some of the cars all the seats had been removed; others had 
seats at one end, while two thirds of the flooring was bare. The 
badly hurt were laid in rows upon the planks; those less injured 
were given the seats, two, sometimes three, to a bench; others with 
bandaged arms and heads must stand. Every box-on-wheels was 
crowded, noisy, hot, of necessity dirty, of necessity evil-smelling. 
The cars and their burden made the best of it; there was much suf- 
fering but no whining. The engine wheezed and pufied, the wheels 
moved, the train rolled southward out of Resaca. The more lively 
of the passengers, who were by windows, talked for the benefit of 
the others. " Troops moving on both roads — everybody getting in 
column — quiet and orderly — Old Joe fashion! Still firing on the 
fringe of things — regular battle-cloud over on our right! — Going 
to cross the river! Pretty river and pretty name for it. — Rivers 
and mountains — I've learned more geography in this war!" 

The train creaked and wavered across the Oostenaula. At the 
station some one had given a wounded officer a newspaper procured 
from headquarters — a three-days' old issue of a Milledgeville paper. 
The officer had both eyes bandaged across, and the man beside him 
could not read aloud because his wound was in the throat. A third, 
sitting on the floor, propped against the side of the car, tried, but 
after he had read the headline he said that the letters all ran to- 
gether. The headline had said "Great Battle in Virginia" and 
the car — that part of it which was at all at ease enough to listen — 
wanted to hear. Desiree, standing beside Edward, took the paper 
and read aloud. Her voice was sweet and deep and clear as a 
bell. 

" From Richmond. There has been a great battle in the Wilderness — " 

"The Wilderness! Like Chancellorsville — " 

"General Grant crossed on the fourth to the south side of Rapidan. 
We met them on the fifth. The battle raged all day with varying success, 
but when darkness fell the honours remained with us — " 

"Hip — hip — hooray!" 



THE GUNS 285 

"At dawn the attack was renewed, and this day saw also a bloody 
struggle. General Longstreet, we regret to report was severely wounded — " 

"Old Pete! How he struck at Chickamauga!" 

"At sunset Gordon of Ewell's attacked the enemy's right flank with 
such fury that he drove him for a mile, capturing his entrenchments and 
a great number of prisoners. Darkness closed the battle. Our loss very 
heavy, the enemy's much greater. As we go to press we learn that on the 
eighth Grant began to move toward Spottsylvania Court-House." 

"The eighth! A week ago! Is that all it says ?" 

"There is nothing more from Virginia. But here is a letter from 
Ripley, Mississippi. Forrest has been through that place, the enemy 
after him — " 

"Read that!" 

On creaked the slow train, past the windows unrolled the Georgia 
countryside, and where one saw a road one saw grey troops, grey 
infantry, grey artillery, grey wagon-trains, all moving with the train 
of the wounded, moving deeper into Georgia, moving toward 
Atlanta. They moved nor fast nor slow, and if it was an army in 
retreat it did not look the r61e. On went the train, in the heat, with 
the wounded. No sun totmented, but the pall of the clouds held in 
the heat. There had been two buckets of water to each car, but the 
water gave out before they had been fifteen minutes from Resaca. 

Hardee's corps, reaching Calhoun, moved by Johnston's orders 
out upon the Rome road to where was met the Snake Creek Gap 
road to Adairsville, upon which road the enemy was advancing. 
Here Hardee deployed, formed a line, and held the blue in check 
while the remainder of the grey came up. Joe Wheeler, in the rear, 
retarded all advance from Resaca itself. The blue passage of the 
Oostenaula met, too, with certain delays. Sherman, moving from 
Dalton behind Rocky Face to cut the grey lines at Resaca, found 
the Army of Tennessee there before him. Moving now behind 
Oostenaula to come upon the rear of the grey at Calhoun, he found 
himself, as at Resaca, again face to face. 

Back in front of Resaca, under the darkening sky, upon the 
mound in front of Stevenson's line, above the ravine which had filled 
with a blue host, stood yet the four guns which had been cut off 
early in the day. "I covered the disputed battery with my fire," 
says Stevenson, "in such a manner that it was utterly impossible for 



286 CEASE FIRING 

the enemy to remove it, and I knew that I could retake it at any 
time, but thought it could be done with less loss of life at night, and 
therefore postponed my attack. When ordered to retire I represented 
the state of things to the general commanding, who decided to aban- 
don the guns." And says Hood: "During the attack on General 
Stevenson a four-gun battery was in position thirty paces in front 
of his line, the gunners being driven from it and the battery left in 
dispute. The army withdrew that night, and the guns, without 
caissons or limber-boxes, were abandoned to the enemy, the loss of 
life it would have cost to withdraw them being considered worth 
more than the guns." 

These four pieces constituted the only material lost or abandoned 
during the seventy days. Now they stood there in a row with their 
grey friends and comrades gone, with the blue rear guard not yet 
come to take them; stood there in a solitude after throngs, in a 
silence after sound. The sky was iron grey, the grass was trampled, 
the dead lay upon the slope. The guns were all alone. Their metal 
was cold, their lips no longer red; they stood like four sentinels 
frozen in death. They stood high, against the wide and livid heaven. 
The cloudy day declined; the night came dark and close, and into its 
vastness the guns sank and disappeared like the guns of an injured 
ship at sea. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE WILDERNESS 

T might have been guessed from the first," said Cleave. "Only, 
fortimately or unfortmiately, mankind never makes such 
guesses. Given, with all our talk to the contrary, North and 
South, a common stock, with common qualities, common intensities 
of purpose; then given the division of the whole into two parts, two 
thirds of the mass on that side of the line, one third on this; then, 
in addition, push to the larger side manufacturing towns and the 
control of the sea — and it ought not to have taken an eagle's vision 
to see on which side the dice would fall." 
Allan pondered it. "There have been times from the beginning 

— from First Manassas on — when we lacked little of winning. 
A very little more several times and they would have cried. 
Peace!" 

"That is true. It was n't impossible, impossible as it looked. It 
only was n't at all probable." 

"And it is less probable now ?" 

"It is not at all probable now." 

The two moved on in silence. Cleave riding Dundee, Allan walk- 
ing beside him. They were in one of the glades of the Wilderness, 
the Sixty-fifth bivouacking at hand. Cleave going to brigade head- 
quarters and the scout joining him from some by-path. It was sun- 
set, and a pink light touched the Wilderness. "We have come to a 
definite turn," said Cleave, " or rather, we came to it at Gettysburg, 

— Gettysburg and Vicksburg." He looked about him. "A year 
ago, we were in this Wilderness. I had a cloud upon me that I did 
not know would ever be lifted — a cloud upon me and a sore 
heart." He lifted his hat and rode bareheaded. "But the light 
upon this Wilderness was more rosy then than now." 

Night fell. Far and wide rolled the Wilderness. An odour rose 
from the dwarf pine and oak and sweet gum and cedar, from the 
earth and its carpet of the leaves of old years, from the dogwood, 



288 CEASE FIRING 

the pink azalea, and the pvirple judas-tree, from rotting logs and 
orange and red fungi, from small marshy bottoms where the frogs 
were croaking, from the dry, out- worn "poison fields," from dust 
and from mould, — a subtle odour, new as to-day, old as sandal- 
wood cut in the East ten thousand years ago. Far and wide stretched 
the Wilderness. Its ravines were not deep, its hills were not high, 
but it had a vastness as of the desert, where, neither, are the ravines 
deep nor the hills high. The stars rimmed it, and a low whispering 
wind went from cedar covert to sweet-gum copse, from pine to oak, 
from dogwood to judas-tree. It lifted the dust from the narrow, 
trampled, hidden roads and powdered with it the wayside growth. 
It murmured past the Tabernacle Church, and the burned house 
of Chancellorsville, and Dowdall's Tavern and the old Wilderness 
Tavern, by Catherine Furnace and along the old Turnpike and the 
Plank Road. It bore with it the usual sounds of the Wilderness by 
night and it bore also, this May as last May, the hum of great armies, 
not roused yet, not furiously battling, but murmurous — a dreamy, 
not unrestful sound adding itself to the region's natural voice. 

A group of officers, sitting by the embers of a camp-fire, listened 
to the two voices, and watched the pale light along the northern 
horizon. "It's like the lights of a distant city over there." 

"A hundred and forty thousand men make a city. . . . Not so 
distant either." 

"Grant! I never met him in the old Mexican days, — nor after- 
wards. He went pretty far down. But I have met a man or two 
who knew him, and they liked him — a bulldog, reticent, tenacious 
kind of person — " 

"Very good soldierly qualities — especially when backed by one 
hundred and forty thousand men with promise of all reinforcements 
needed ! — Heigho ! " 

"He had a kind of rough chivalry, also, — consideration, sim- 
plicity. Sincere, too — " He stirred the embers with his scabbard 
point. "Well! we've got a job before us now." 

"We've won, once before, in this place." 

"The fourth of May! Last fourth of May it was Stonewall Jack- 
son — lying over there by Dowdall's Tavern — with just a week to 
live. Stuart — " 

"It's come to a question of figures. If they can keep on doubling 



THE WILDERNESS 289 

us in number, if they can add and add reinforcements and we can- 
not, if they have made up their minds to stand all the killing neces- 
sary, then, with a determined general, it is not impossible that after 
years of trying they may get between us and Richmond." 

"They may eventually. I don't think they will do it this cam- 
paign." 

"No. I reckon not—" 

The group fell silent, looking out upon the waves of wooded land 
and the light on the horizon. "I was through here," said one at last, 
"ten years ago. I was riding with a farmer — a young man — and 
I remember that I said it was like a region that had gone to sleep 
in its cradle and never waked up, and he said that that was what 
was the matter with it — that nothing ever happened here! I 
wonder — " 

"Don't wonder. What 's the use ?" 

"It's a strange world!" 

"Strange! That's the thing about the imiverse I think of most 
at night — how queer it is! " 

"Unity! That's what they teach — all the philosophers! And 
yet a unity that tears its own flesh — " 

"Sometimes unity does that very thing. I've seen a man do it." 

"Yes, when he was distraught!" 

"That's what I say. You can nearly go mad at night, thinking 
how mad we all are!" 

"Don't think. At least not now. You can't afford it." 

"I agree with Gary. There's a time to think and a time not to 
think. The less the soldier thinks the better." 

"Think!" said Fauquier Gary. "Nooneever thinks in war. The 
soldier looks at his enemy, and then he looks at his murdering piece, 
and then instinctively he discovers the best position — or what 
seems to him the best position — from which to fire it. And then 
he reloads, and he looks again at the enemy, and instinct does the 
job for him once more — and so on, ad infinitum. But he never 
thinks." He rose and stood, warming his one hand. " If he did that, 
you know, there 'd be no war ! " 

"And would that be a good thing ? " 

"It depends," said Gary, "on what you call a good thing. — 
Listen! Jeb Stuart and his cavalry, moving on the old Turnpike — " 



290 CEASE FIRING 

The grey soldiers, too, had their camp-fires. The light of these 
flared, to the eyes of the blue, on the southern horizon. Here like- 
wise was the effect of the lights of a city — a smaller city, a city of 
sixty thousand. But when you were actually back of the pickets, 
in the camps, it was not like a city. It was only dusky lights here 
and there in the midst of shadows, only camp-fires in the Wilder- 
ness. The grey men scattered around them, resting after rapid 
marching, were in an eve-of-battle mood. Eve-of-battle mood 
meant tenseness, sudden jocularity, sudden silences, a kind of added 
affectionateness between brothers and intimates, often masked by 
brusqueness, a surreptitious consideration, a curious, involuntary 
"in honour preferring one another." Even among the still at this 
hour very busy people, the generals cogitating orders, the aides and 
couriers standing waiting or setting out with their messages, the 
ordnance train people, the movers of guns from one point to another, 
the ambulance folk, the drivers of belated wagons, the cavalry 
patrols, eve-of-battle feeling was apparent. But it was most in force 
in the resting army. Eve-of-battle mood had many ingredients. 
Among them was to be found in the cup of many the ingredient of 
fear. Men hid it, but it was there. It fell on the heart at inter- 
vals, fell like a cold finger tap, like the icy drop of water falling at 
intervals, hour after hour, on the brow of the tortured in an old 
dungeon. When the battle was here it would disappear; always the 
amount of it lessened in constant ratio to the approach of the firing. 
The first volley — except in the case of the coward — dissipated it 
quite. With some the drop was heavier and more insistent than 
with others, but there were few, indeed, who had not at some time 
felt that cold and penetrating touch. It was only a thing of in- 
tervals; it came and went, and between its comings one was gay 
enough. There had long ago ceased the fear of what it could do 
to one. It was not pleasant — neither was sea-sickness — but the 
voyage would be made. The Army of Northern Virginia knew 
that it was going to fight. The world knows that it fought as have 
fought few armies. 

A company lymg upon the earth in a field of cedars began to 
sing. 

"We're tenting to-night on the old camp-ground! 
Give us a song to cheer — " 



THE WILDERNESS 291 

"That's too mournful!" said a neighbouring company. "Tell 
the Louisianians to sing the 'Marseillaise.'" 

"Many are the hearts that are weary to-night! 
Wishing for the war to cease; 
Many are the hearts that are loolcing for the right, 
To see the dawn of peace. 

" Tenting to-night, tenting to-night, 

Tenting on the old camp-ground. . . .'' 

As always, eve-of-battle, there was going on a certain redding up. 
Those who had haversacks plunged deep within them, gathered 
certain trifles together and tied them into a small bundle with a 
pencilled direction. Diaries were brought up very neatly and care- 
fully to date. Entries closed with "Battle to-morrow!" or with 
"This time to-morrow night much will have happened"; or some- 
times with such things as "Made up my quarrel with Wilson 
to-day"; or "Returned the book I borrowed from Selden"; or 
"Read a psalm and a chapter to-day"; or "Wrote home." Eve-of- 
battle saw many letters written. There was a habit, too, of destroy- 
ing letters received and garnered. Here and there a man sat upon 
a log and tore into little bits old, treasured sheets. The flecks lay 
like snow upon the earth of the Wilderness. 

"We're tired of war on the old camp-ground 
Many are dead and gone. . . . 

"We're tenting to-night on the old camp-ground, . . . 
Tenting to-night, tenting to-night. 
Tenting to-night on the old camp-ground." 

All the spirit of this army was graver than it had been a year ago, 
than it had. been six months ago. During the past winter a strong 
religious fervour had swept it. This evening, in the Wilderness, in 
many a command there was prayer and singing of hymns. Swaths 
of earth, black copses of cedar and gum, divided one congregation 
from another. One was singing while another prayed; the hymns 
were different, but the wide night had room for all — for the 
hymns and for "Tenting to-night," and for the "Marseillaise" 
which now Hays's Louisianians were singing. All blended into some- 
thing piteous, something old and touching, and of a dim nobility. 
The pickets out in the deep night listened. 



igi CEASE FIRING 

"Just as I am, without one plea 

Save that thy blood was shed for me, 
And that Thou bid'st me come to thee, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!" 

A soldier, standing picket and hearing the singing behind a dusky 
wave of earth, had his doubts. "If we really come to him — if the 
Yankees over there really came to him — if we both came, why, — 
there would n't he any battle to-morrow. . . . Seeing that he said, 
'Love your enemy' — which if everybody did presently there 'd 
be no enemy — no more than an icicle in the sun." He sighed and 
shifted his musket. "They think they mean what they're singing, 
butthey don't— " 

Relieved, he sought his mess and the comer of leaves and boughs 
in which they meant to sleep. Before lying down he spoke to the 
man next him. "John, I've got a letter and a little bit of package 
here that I want you to keep. I am going to be killed to-morrow." 

"No, you ain't!" 

"Yes, lam. I am positively certain of it. I am going to be killed 
about noon." 

"You've just got one of those darned presentiments, and half 
the time they don't come to nothing!" 

"This one will. You take the letter and the little bit of pack- 
age. I am going to be killed to-morrow, about noon." And he was 
killed. 

Night grew old. The flare of the cities sank away; tattoo beat, 
then, after a little, taps. The Wilderness lay awake. She com- 
muned with her own heart. But the men whom she harboured 
slept. Night passed, the stars paled, pure and cool and fresh came 
on the dawn — wild roses in the east, in a field of forget-me-not 
blue. Shrill and sweet, near and remote, a thousand bugles blew 
reveille in the Wilderness. 

Ewell and A. P. Hill moved westward, deeper into the Wilderness. 
Longstreet, marching from the south side of the James, was not 
yet up, though known to be approaching. About breakfast time an 
artillery officer came upon a small fire, and bending over it, stiffly, 
being wooden-legged, General Ewell, a first-rate cook and proud of 
it. He insisted on giving the other a cup of coffee. 

"Is there any objection, sir," said the officer, after drinking, "to 
our knowing what are orders ? " 



THE WILDERNESS 293 

" No, sir, — none at all, — just the orders I like ! To go right down 
the Plank Road and strike the enemy wherever I find him!" 

He found him, in the person of the Fifth Corps, near Locust 
Grove, at the noon hour. The battle of the Wilderness began, — a 
vast infantry battle, fought in thick woods, woods so thick that in 
those coverts of dwarf pine and oak artillery could not be used, so 
thick that an officer could not see his whole line, so thick that the 
approach of troops was often known only by the noise of their move- 
ment through the scrub, or, as night came down, by the light from 
the mouths of the muskets. This was the battle of the first day, and 
it was long and sanguinary and indecisive. Corps of Ewell and Hill 
— corps of Hancock and Warren and Sedgwick fought it. Ewell 
gained and held an advantage, but Wilcox and Heth of Hill's had 
a desperate, exhausting struggle with Hancock's men. Poague's 
battalion of artillery strove to help, but artillery in the Wilderness 
could do Uttle. Six divisions charged Heth and Wilcox. They held 
their own, but they barely held it. When darkness fell and the thun- 
ders were stilled there came a promise that during the night they 
should be relieved. Resting upon it, they built a rude breastwork, 
and then, worn out, dropped upon the earth and slept. 

Lee sent a courier on a swift horse to meet Longstreet and order 
a night march. At one o'clock of a starlit night the latter took the 
road, and at daylight of the sixth he came to Parker's Store, on the 
edge of the Wilderness, three miles behind Hill's line of battle, and 
as he came he heard the roar of battle upon this front. 

Hancock fell in the grey light on Heth and Wilcox. The Wilder- 
ness echoed the musketry and the shouting. It was a furious on- 
slaught, for a time a furious answer — and then Wilcox's line, ex- 
hausted, decimated, broke and rolled in confusion down the Orange 
Plank Road. When the men reached Poague's artillery they made 
a wavering stand. The guns, crashing into battle, did what they 
might to help. But Hancock's shouting Unes came on. A furious 
musketry fire burst in the face of the guns, a leaden rain hard pelt- 
ing from just across the road, the drops falling thick and fast among 
the guns and the gunners and a company of moimted officers 
behind. The grey infantry, exposed to volley after volley, broke 
again; all the place became a troubled grey sea, cross-waves and 
confusion. 



294 CEASE FIRING 

Lee rode out from the group of officers. "Rally, men, rally!" he 
cried. " General Longstreet is coming ! " 

" Marse Robert I Marse Robert!" 

The boisterous rain came and came again from the coverts of the 
Wilderness. Hancock's men shouted loudly. They saw the grey 
overthrow. "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" they shouted. 

Lee rose in his stirrups. "Rally, Army of Northern Virginia! — " 

" Longstreet! Longstreet! " 

Double-column and double-time, Longstreet came down the Plank 
Road. Deploying, Kershaw came into line under fire to the right. 
Deploying, Field swung across on the left. "Charge, Kershaw!" 
ordered Longstreet. Kershaw charged, and flung back the shouting 
blue advance; Field, on the left, advancing at a run, swept past the 
smoking guns and Lee, sitting Traveller. Gregg's Texans were in 
front. "General Lee! General Lee!" they shouted. Lee lifted his 
hat, and then he spurred grey Traveller and kept beside the Texans. 

"He's going in with them!" exclaimed an aide. "He must n't do 
that!" 

Gregg turned his head. " General Lee, you must n't go with us! 
We can't allow that, sir!" 

Now the men saw, too. "Do you mean — No, no! that won't do! 
General Lee to the rear ! " 

"But, men— " 

There rose a cry. "We won't go on imless you go back! General 
Lee to the rear!" 

A man took hold of Traveller's bridle and turned him. 

On dashed the Texans — eight hundred of them. They went now 
through open field, now through pines. They struck Webb's brigade 
of Hancock's corps. Blue and grey, there sprang a roar of musketry. 
Four hundred of the eight hundred fell, lay dead or wounded; then 
with a loud and long cry there swept to the aid of Gregg, Benning's 
Texans, Georgia, and Alabama. Law and Benning and Gregg pushed 
back the blue. 

For hours it was the tug of war. Blue and grey they swayed and 
swung and the Wilderness howled with the conflict. Smoke mounted. 
The firing waxed until sound was no more discrete but continuous. 
Although it was not night the Wilderness grew dark. And beneath 
the solid roof of smoke and sound men lay gasping on mother earth, 



THE WILDERNESS 29^ 

dyeing the grass with their blood, pliicking with their fingers at 
strengthless stems, putting out their tongues where there was no 
moisture, biting the dust. In the sick brain, to and fro, went the 
words "This is the end," and "Why? God, why?" 

The blue left rested south of the Plank Road. With four brigades- 
under Mahone, Longstreet began a turning movement. It suc- 
ceeded. Mahone struck the blue, flank and rear, while Longstreet 
hurled other troops against their front. The blue line crumpled up, 
surged in confusion back upon the Brock Road. The noise grew 
heavier, the Wilderness darker. 

And then occurred one of those things called coincidences. One 
year ago a very great general had been given death in the Wilder- 
ness by a mistaken volley from his own men. Now on this day in 
the Wilderness a general, not so great, but able, and necessary that 
day to the grey fortunes, rode with a brigade which he was about 
to place in line, through the wood alongside the Plank Road. The 
wood was thick and the road wound. Longstreet, with him Generals 
Jenkins and Kershaw, pressed forward through the oak scrub, torn 
and veiled with smoke, and now in many places afire. All the air 
was now so thick, it was hard in that wild place to tell friend from 
foe. As had done Lane's North Carolinians last year, so this year 
did Mahone's men. They saw or felt the approach of a column, 
whose colour they could not see; some command parallel with the 
moving troops chanced just then to deliver fire; Mahone's men 
thought that the shots came from the approaching body, hardly 
outlined as it was in the murk. They answered with a volley. Jen- 
kins was killed, and Longstreet severely wounded. 

"What are you doing? What are you doing?" shouted Kershaw; 
and at last grey understood that it was grey. 

Says the artillery officer, Robert Stiles, who has been quoted 
before: "I observed an excited gathering some distance back of the 
lines, and, pressing toward it, I heard that General Longstreet had 
Just been shot down and was being put into an ambulance. I could 
not learn anything definite as to the character of his wound, but 
only that it was serious — some said that he was dead. When the 
ambulance moved off, I followed it for a little way. . . . The mem- 
bers of his staff surrounded the vehicle, some riding in iront, some 
on one side and some on the other, and some behind. One, I remem- 



i^S CEASE FIRING 

ber, stood upon the rear step of the ambulance, seeming to desire : 
to be as near him as possible. I never on any occasion during the 
four years of the war saw a group of oflBcers and gentlemen more 
deeply distressed. They were literally bowed down with grief. All 
of them were in tears. One, by whose side I rode for some distance, 
was himself severely hurt, but he made no allusion to his wound, 
and I do not believe that he felt it. ... I rode up to the ambulance 
and looked in. They had taken off Longstreet's hat and coat and 
boots. The blood had paled out of his face, and its somewhat gross 
aspect was gone. I noticed how white and dome-like his great fore- 
head looked and, with scarcely less reverent admiration, how spot- 
less white his socks, and his fine gauze undervest, save where the 
black red gore from his breast and shoulder had stained it. . . . His 
eyelids frayed apart till I could see a delicate line of blue between 
them, and then he very quietly moved his unwounded arm, and with 
his thumb and two fingers carefully lifted the saturated undershirt 
from his chest, holding it up a moment, and heaved a deep sigh." 

The grey attack, disorganized by Longstreet's fall, hung in the 
wind, until Lee came up and led it on. But time had been lost, and 
though much was done, it was not that which might have been done. 
The blue were behind long lines of log breastworks on the Brock 
Road. Again and again the grey beat against these. At times they 
took this work or that, but could not hold it. Along the front of one 
command the breastwork caught fire. The blue fought to put it out, 
but could not; flame and smoke made a barrier alike to grey or blue. 
On the Plank Road, Bumside fell upon Law's Alabamians and a 
Florida brigade, but Heth came up and with Alabama and Florida 
thrust back Burnside. At sunset, though the sun could not be seen 
in the Wilderness, Ewell flung Gordon with Pegram and Hays 
against the Federal right. The assault was well planned and deter- 
mined to desperation. The blue right was driven as had been the 
blue left in the morning. The sun sank, black night came, and the 
battle closed. There lay in the Wilderness perhaps two thousand 
■dead in grey and five thousand wounded. There lay in the Wilder- 
ness more than two thousand dead in blue and twelve thousand 
wounded. There were three thousand in blue captured or missing. 
There were fifteen hundred grey prisoners. 

Night was not so black in all parts of the Wilderness. In parts it 



THE WILDERNESS 297 

was fearfully red. The Wilderness was afire. Pine and oak scrub 
and the dry leaves beneath and the sedge in open places, — they 
flared like tow. They flared where the battle had been fought; they 
flared where were the wounded. Here and there in the Wilderness 
arose a horrible crying. Volunteers and volunteers, blue and grey, 
companies of volunteers, plunged into the smoke, among the red 
tongues. They did what the fire would let them do. They brought 
out many and many and many. But an unknown number of hun- 
dreds were burned to death. 

All day the seventh they skirmished. The night of the seventh 
the blue, weary of the Wilderness, moved with swiftness southeast 
toward Spottsylvania Court-House. "Get so between him and 
Richmond," said Grant, as at Dalton Sherman was saying, " Get so 
between him and Atlanta." But as Johnston moved on inner lines 
and with more swiftness than Sherman, so Lee moved on inner lines 
and with more swiftness than Grant. Flexible as a Toledo blade 
was the grey army. With the noise of the blue column on the Brock 
Road sprang almost simultaneously the sound of the grey column 
moving cross-country and then by the Shady Grove Road. Grant, 
bent on "swinging past" Lee, came to Spottsylvania in the bright 
morning light of the eighth of May, to find Jeb Stuart drawn across 
the Brock Road; behind him the First Corps. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE BLOODY ANGLE 

ROUGHLY speaking, the Confederate position in the three days' 
battle of Spottsylvania — country of Alexander Spottswood, 
sometime periwigged Governor of the Colony of Virginia — 
-was a great reversed V, the apex turned northward, the base laved 
by the river Po, the First Corps holding the western face, the Sec- 
ond Corps the eastern, the Third Corps at first in reserve, but after- 
wards sufficiently involved, Lee himself at Spottsylvania Court- 
House, just within the eastern line. The country was a rough one 
of oak and pine, though not so densely wooded as the Wilderness, 
the weather upon the ninth and tenth dazzlingly hot and dusty, 
the eleventh and twelfth days of fog and streaming rain. It was 
a strong position. 

On May eighth, the two antagonists entrenched themselves, made 
their dispositions and placed their batteries. On May ninth, there 
was much skirmishing, heavy enough at times to be called an en- 
gagement. On this day, on the blue side, there was killed General 
Sedgwick. From the beginning of the campaign, Jeb Stuart had 
most seriously interfered with the blue host. On the eighth. Grant 
ordered Sheridan to strike out independently for Richmond and so 
draw Stuart away from the field of Spottsylvania. At simrise on 
the ninth, Sheridan and ten thousand horsemen took the Tele- 
graph Road that stretched from Fredericksburg to Richmond. 
At sundown they came to Beaver Dam Station and the Virginia 
Central Railroad. Here they captured a trainload of wounded 
and prisoners on the way from Spottsylvania to Richmond. Here 
they released three hundred and seventy Federal captives, and 
here they set fire to all trains and buildings and tore up the rail- 
road track and made birds' nests of the telegraph wires. And here 
they heard Stuart on their heels. On the tenth, they crossed the 
South Anna at Ground Squirrel Bridge, not without skirmishing. 
At night Stuart's shells rained into their camps. On the eleventh, 



THE BLOODY ANGLE 299 

one blue brigade had an encounter with Munford at Ashland while 
the main force swept on to Glen Allen. Here they met Stuart's 
strong skirmish line, and, driving it in at last, came to Yellow 
Tavern, six miles from Richmond. 

Back in Spottsylvania, all day the tenth of May there was fight- 
ing, fighting by the river Po, between Heth's division and troops of 
Hancock, artillery work and skirmishing along all lines; in the after- 
noon a great blue assault, desperately repelled. The Federal loss 
this day weis four thousand, the Confederate, two thousand. 

The eleventh saw a lull, a still and oppressive pause in things. 
The blue made a reconnoissance, much interfered with by grey 
sharpshooters, but a reconnoissance big with results. What had been 
cloudy knowledge became clear; there sprang into intense light a 
thing that might be done. That night the Federal Second and Ninth 
Corps slept on their arms in a sheltering wood a thousand yards and 
more from the salient that marked the grey centre, from the narrow 
part of the V, held by Edward Johnson's division of Ewell's corps. 

All day the eleventh the grey had strengthened breastworks and 
made inner lines. There was a fine, slow rain, and the mist of it, 
added to the smoke from the burning forest and the clouds from the 
cannon mouth, made a dull, obscuring atmosphere. In the after- 
noon came with positiveness the statement of a reconnoitring party. 
A blue column, in motion southward, had been observed to cross the 
Po. At the same time arrived a message from Early. " Certainly 
some movement of the enemy to the left." Now another flank move- 
ment of Grant's, another attempt to "swing past," another effort 
to get between the Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond was 
so probable, so entirely on the cards, that Lee accepted the report 
as correct and prepared to act accordingly. He prepared to move 
during the night that supple, mobile army of his, and in speed and 
silence again to lay it across Grant's road. Among other orders he 
sent one to his artillery chiefs. All guns on the left and centre that 
might be "difl&cult of access" were to be withdrawn at nightfall. 
So, later, they would be ready to come swiftly and noiselessly into 
column. Having received the order, Ewell's chief of artillery re- 
moved all guns from the high and broken ground at the point of the 
V. Toward midnight Lee received assurance that the blue move- 
ment across the Po had been but a reconnoissance. Mahone and 



300 CEASE FIRING 

Wilcox, whom he had sent toward Shady Grove, were recalled, and 
the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to meet on this ground the 
Army of the Potomac. Certain orders were countermanded, certain 
others given. But through some negligence or other the order to 
restore to their original position the guns "difficult of access" did 
not that night reach the proper officers. When the first pallid light 
came into the sky the guns were away from the salient, the point 
of the V. And a thousand yards in the forest lay, on their arms, 
waiting for the dawn, the Second and Ninth Army Corps. 

The salient — for hundreds of yards it thrust itseli out toward 
the blue, like a finger pointing from a clenched hand. And the finger 
nail was the Bloody Angle. 

Billy Maydew, rising from the wet earth at four o'clock, found 
that the rain was coming down and the world was wrapped in fog. 
"Thunder Run Mountain can't see Peaks of Otter this morning!" 
he said. He stood up, tall and lean and twenty-one, and stretched 
himself. "Hope grandpap and the dawgs air setting comfortable 
by the fire!" 

Certainly the Stonewall Brigade, Johnson's division, Ewell's 
corps, was not warm and comfortable. Felled wet trees did as well 
for breastwork and traverse and abatis as dry, but they were not so 
good for camp-fires. The fires this streaming break-of-day were a 
farce. The ground behind the breastworks was rough and now. very 
muddy, and the great number of stumps of trees had a dismal look. 
Where a fire was kindled the smoke refused to rise, but clung dark, 
thick, and suffocating. The air struck shiveringly cold, and the 
woods north and east and west of the sharp salient were as invisible 
as a fog-mantled coast. Billy, standing high in the angle's narrowest 
part, had a curious feeling. He had never been on a ship or he might 
have thought, "I am driving fast into something behind that fog." 
As it was, he shook off the slight dizziness and looked about him — 
at the thronged deck where everybody was trying to get breakfast, 
at the long trenches, each side of the salient and rounding the point, 
at the log and earth breastworks and the short traverses, at the 
abatis of felled trees, branches outward, much like the swirl of waves 
to either side the ship's prow. He looked at the parapets where the 
guns had been, and then, brigade headquarters' fire being near, 
he listened to an aide from the division commander. "General 



THE BLOODY ANGLE 301 

Johnson says, sir, that he has sent again for the guns, sent for the 
third time. They're coming, but the road is frightfully heavy. 
He says the moment they are here, get them into position and 
trained. In the mean time keep the sharpest kind of lookout." 

Billy had not thought much of it before, but now it came over 
him. "We air in a darned defenceless position out here." 

He went back to where his mess was struggling with a fire not 
big enough to toast hard-tack. He had hardly joined them when a 
drum beat and an order rang the length and breadth of the salient. 
Fall in ! 

He was down in one of the trenches, the Sixty-fifth with him, 
right and left. Turning his head, he saw Cleave stand a moment 
looking at the platforms where the batteries had been and now 
were not, then walk along the trenches and speak to the men. 
Lieutenant Coffin he saw, too, slight, pale, romantic-looking, and 
troubled at the moment because he had unwittingly stepped into a 
mud-hole which had mired him above the knee. He had a bit of 
scrap iron and with it was scraping the mud away, steadying him- 
self, shoulder against a tree. 

Billy smiled. "Ain't he a funny mixture? Hates a speck of mud 
'most as much as he hates a greyback! Funny when I think of how 
I used to hate him I" He looked along the line and at the companies 
in reserve and at the clusters of officers, with here or there a solitary 
figure, and at the regiments of the Stonewall Brigade, and the other 
brigades of Johnson's division, and then out through a crack between 
two logs, to the picket line beyond the abatis and to the misty wood. 
"I don't know that I hate anybody now," said Billy aloud. , 

"Don't you? " asked the man next him. "I would n't be a namby- 
pamby like that! I could n't get along without hating, any more 
than I could without tansy in the spring-time!" 

" Oh, thar air times," said Billy equably, "when I think I hate the 
Yanks." 

"Think! Don't you know?" 

Billy was counting the cartridges in his cartridge-box. "Why," 
he said when he had finished, " sometimes of course I hate them like 
p'ison oak. But then thar air other times when I consider that — 
according to their newspapers — they hate me like p'ison oak, too. 
Now I do a power of wrong things, I know, but I air not p'ison oak. 



3oa CEASE FIRING 

And so, according to what Allan calls 'logic,' maybe they air not 
p'ison oak either. Thar was a man in the Wilderness. The fire in 
the scrub was coming enough to feel the devil in it — closer and 
closer. And his spine was hurt and he could n't move, and he had 
his shoulder against a log, one end of which was blazing. He was 
sitting there all lit up by that light, and he had his musket butt up 
and was trying to beat out his brains. Me and Jim Watts got him 
out, and he was from Boston and a young man like me, and I liked 
him just as well as ever I liked any man. He put his arms around 
my neck and he hugged me and cried, and I hugged him, too, and I 
reckon I cried, too. And Jim and me got him out through the scrub 
afire. He wa'n't no p'ison oak, no more'n I were." 

"Well, what 're you fightmg for ?" 

"I am fighting," said Billy, "for the right to secede." 

Out in the fog a picket fired. Another and another followed. 
There arose a sputter of musketry, then a sound of voices and of 
running feet, heavy on the sodden earth. In a moment there was 
commotion, up and down, within the salient. In fell the pickets — 
anyhow — over the breastworks. "They're coming! they're com- 
ing! All of them! It looked like — !" 

They came. Barlow's division in two lines of two brigades each 
"closed in mass," Bimey's division, Mott's division. Gibbon be- 
hind. Barlow came over an open space, Birney through a wood of 
stunted pines and by a marsh. Together they wrapped with fire 
the extended finger that was the salient. There rose a grey shouting, 
"The guns ! the guns ! Hasten the guns ! " The guns were coming — 
Page's and Cutshaw's — the guns were hastening, coming in two 
lines, twenty-two guns, through the tangled, sopping wood — horses 
and drivers and cannoneers straining every nerve. The ground was 
frightful beneath foot and wheel. Two guns got up in tiine to fire 
three rounds into the looming blue. Then the storm broke, and the 
angle became the spot on earth where, it is estimated, in all the his- 
tory of the earth the musketry fire was the heaviest. It became 
the "Bloody Angle." 

Billy fired, bit a cartridge, loaded, fired, loaded, fired, loaded, 
fired, and all over and over again, then, later, used his bayonet, 
then clubbed his musket and struck with it, lifted, struck, lifted. 



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THE BLOODY ANGLE 



THE BLOODY ANGLE 303 

struck. Each distinct action carried with it a more or less distinct 
thought. "This is going to be hell here, presently," thought the 
first cartridge. "No guns and every other Yank in creation coming 
jumping!" "Thunder Run!" thought the second; "Thunder Run, 
Thunder Run, Thunder Run ! " Thought the third, "I killed that man 
with the twisted face." Thought the fourth, "I forgot to give Dave 
back his tin cup." The fifth cartridge had an irrelevant vision of the 
school-house and the water-bucket on the bench by the door. The 
sixth thought, "That man won't go home either!" Down the line 
went the word, Bayonets ! and he fixed his bayonet, the gun-bore 
burning his fingers as he did so. The breastwork here was log and 
earth. Now other bayonets appeared over it, and behind the bay- 
onets blue caps. " I have heard many a fuss," said the first bayonet 
thrust, "but never a fuss like this!" "Blood, blood!" said the 
second. "lam the bloody Past! Just as strong and young as ever I 
was! More blood!" 

The trenches grew slippery with blood. It mixed with the rain 
and ran in red streamlets. The bayonet point felt first the folds of 
cloth, then it touched and broke the skin, then it parted the tissues, 
then it grated against bone, or, passing on, rending muscle and 
gristle, protruded, a crimson point. Withdrawn, it sought another 
body, sought it fast, and found it. Those men who had room to fire 
kept on firing, the blue into breast and face of the grey, the grey 
into breast and face of the blue. Flame scorched the flesh of each. 
Pistols were used as well as muskets. Where there was not room 
to fire, or time to load, where one could not well thrust with the 
bayonet, the stock of gun or pistol was used as a club. Where 
weapons had been wrested away men clutched with bare hands one 
anothers' throats. And all this went on, not among a dozen or even 
fifty infuriated beings, but among thousands. Over all was the 
smoke, through which, as through a leaky roof, poured the rain. 

The blue came over the breastwork, down the slippery side, into 
the trenches. Their feet pressed dead bodies or slipped in the bloody 
mire. The grey seemed to lift them bodily and throw them back 
upon the other side. Then across the parapet broke out again 
the storm of musketry. There were four thousand defending the 
salient, there were thrice as many pressing to the attack. From the 
rear Ewell was throwing forward brigades, but they could not come 



304 CEASE FIRING 

in time. The twenty-two guns were now here, but only two were 
unlimbered, when the blue finally overran the Bloody Angle. 

They poured into the salient, they took three thousand grey pris- 
oners, amongst them Johnson himself and General Steuart; they 
took twenty of Page and Cutshaw's twenty-two guns. They swept 
on, hurrahing, to the second line across the salient, and here they 
met the troops of Hill and Early. Gordon and Rodes, brigades of 
Lane and Ramseur and Perrin, brigades of Mississippi and South 
Carolina, artillery from any quarter that could be brought to bear, 
all crashed against the rushing blue. All day it lasted, the battle 
of the broken centre, with movements of diversion elsewhere; an 
attack, violently repulsed, upon Anderson of Longstreet's; and 
Early's victory over Burnside. But it was over and around the 
salient that man's rage waxed hottest. So dense in the rain-laden 
air was the smoke, both from the artillery and the enormous volume 
of musketry, that although they were neighbours, indeed, neither 
side now clearly saw its target. Each side fired at edges and gleams 
of humanity. Now a work was captured and held, perhaps for five, 
perhaps for twenty minutes. Then it was retaken. Now it was the 
Stars and Stripes that waved above it, and now it was the Stars and 
Bars. The abatis became a trap to take the living and hold the dead. 
It and all the standing trees were riddled by bullets, split into broom- 
straw. Trees of considerable diameter, bit in twain by the leaden 
teeth, crashed down upon the commands beneath. The artillery, 
roaring into the battle from every feasible point, raked the ground 
with canister, bringing down the living and dreadfully mangling 
the already fallen. The face of the earth was kneaded into a paste 
with blood and water. The blood seemed to have gotten upon the 
flags. And always from the rear was handed on the ammunition. 
. . . The Sixty-fifth was among the uncaptured. Billy had become 
an automaton. 

Night closed the conflict. The blue had gained the capture of 
three fourths of a division, but little since or beside. When total 
darkness came down there lay upon the field of Spottsylvania six- 
teen thousand Federal dead and wounded. The grey loss was not so 
great, but it was great enough. And never now with the grey could 
any loss be afforded. With the grey the blood that was lost was 
arterial blood. 



THE BLOODY ANGLE 305 

At dawn Lee still held the great V, save only the extreme point, 
the narrow Bloody Angle. This was covered and possessed by the 
blue, and at the dawn details came to gather the woimded and bury 
the dead. The dead lay thronged. The blue buried their own, and 
then they came and looked upon the trenches on the grey side of 
the breastworks, and the grey dead lay there so thick that it was 
ghastly. They lay in blood stiffened with earth, and their pale faces 
looked upwards, and their cold hands still clutched their muskets. 
A ray from the rising sun struck upon them. "With much labour," 
says a Federal eye-witness, "a detail of Union soldiers buried these 
dead by simply turning the captured breastworks upon them." 

Back somewhere near the river Po, in the width of the V, a 
mounted ofl&cer met a mounted comrade. The latter was shining 
wet, he and his horse, from a swollen ford. Each drew rein. 

"Have you anything to eat?" said the one from across the Po, 
"I am dizzy, I am so famished." 

"I've got a little brown sugar. Here — " 

He poured it into the hollow of the other's hand, who ate it 
eagerly. "Has anything," asked the first, "been heard from Rich- 
mond way — from Stuart ? " 

The other let fall his hand, sticky with the sugar. He looked at 
his fellow with sombre eyes. "Where have you been," he said, "not 
to have heard ? — Stuart is dead." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

RICHMOND 

"From lightning and tempest; from plague, pestilence and famine; 
from battle and murder, and from sudden death, 
" Good Lord, deliver us." 

BY most the words were sobbed out. May the eighth, and the 
Wilderness vast in the minds of all, and fresh battle impend- 
ing, now at Spottsylvania! It was a congregation of men and 
women, dusky in raiment, bereaved, torn by anxieties, sick with 
alternating hope and fear. Only on one's bed at night, or here in 
church, could the overladen heart speak without shame or acknow- 
ledgment of weakness. Outside, one must be brave again. The over- 
laden heart expressed itself not loudly but very truly. The kneeling 
women looked crushed and immobile in that position. Over them was 
flung a veil of black, and a hand, potent from the beginning of ages, 
seemed yet more heavily to press downward their bowed heads. 
The men knelt more stifily, but they, too, rested their foreheads on 
their clasped hands, and the tears came from between their closed lids. 
On rolled the service, through to the benediction. Richmond in 
Saint Paul's came out of church into the flower-perfumed sunlight. 
Here, men and women, they took up life again, and took it up with 
courage. And as the proper face of courage is a smiling one, so 
with these. Laughter, even, was heard in Richmond — Richmond 
scarred and battle-worn; Richmond, where was disease and crowd- 
ing and wounds and starvation; Richmond ringed with earthworks; 
Richmond the city contended for; Richmond between her foes, 
Army of the Potomac threatening from the Wilderness, Army of 
the James, lesser but formidable, threatening from the river gate; 
Richmond, where the alarm bell was always ringing, ringing! Two 
days ago it had pealed the news that Butler, bringing up a fleet 
from Fortress Monroe, had made a landing at Bermuda Hundred. 
Thirty-nine ships there were in all — thirty-eight, when a gunboat, 
running upon a torpedo, was blown into fragments. They landed 



RICHMOND 307 

thirty-six thousand troops and overran the narrow ground between 
the Appomattox and the Jamels. Petersburg was threatened, and 
from that side Richmond. The bell told it all with an iron tongue. 
Pickett was at Petersburg, reinforced by Hagood's brigade, and 
troops were coming from the Carolinas — some troops, how many 
no one knew save that they could not be many. Yesterday again 
the thrilling, rapid, iron tongue had spoken. The enemy had seized 
and was wrecking the Petersburg railroad. ... So many words 
had come forward in this war, had their day, or short or long, and 
gone out of men's mouths! Now the word "Petersburg" came for- 
ward, it being its turn. The alarm bell called out the militia and the 
City Battalion and the clerks from the various departments. They 
were all ready if the blue cannon came nearer. 

Storm and oppression were in the air — and yet the town on its 
seven hills was fair, with May flowers and the fresh green of many 
trees in which sang the mating birds. The past winter and early 
spring there had existed, leaping like a sudden flame, dying to a 
greying ember, and then leaping again, a strange gaiety. It had 
seized but a certain number in the heavy-hearted city, but these it 
had seized. Youth was youth, and must sing some manner of song 
and play a little no matter what the storm. There were bizarre 
"starvation parties," charades, concerts, dances, amateur theatric- 
als, an historic presentation of "The Rivals." It was all natural 
enough; it had its place in the sjonphony of 1864. But now it was 
over. The soldiers had gone back to the front, the campaign had 
begun, and no one could really sing, watching the wounded come in. 

Judith and Unity Cary walked up Grace Street together. They 
■were not wearing black; Warwick Cary had never liked it. More- 
over, in this year of the war a black gown and bonnet and veil 
■would cost a fearful amount, and there were known to be women 
and children starving. The day was bright and warm, with drifts 
of perfume. An ofl&cer of the President's stafi lifted his cap, then 
-walked beside them. 

"Isn't it a lovely day? — If I were a king with a hundred 
palaces, I should have around each one a brick wall with wistaria 
over it!" 

"No, dark red roses — " 

"I should n't have a wall at all — unless it were one with a nam- 



3o8 CEASE FIRING 

ber of gates — and only one palace! A reasonable palace, with an 
unreasonable number of white roses — " 

A lieutenant-colonel, aged twenty-six, with an arm in a sling, 
and a patch over one eye, here joined them. "Good morning! 
Is n't it a lovely day! I was just thinking it was n't half so lovely a 
day as the days are at Greenwood, and lo and behold! just then it 
became just as lovely! — What do you think! It's confirmed that 
Beauregard is on his way from North Carolina — " 

"Good!" 

"'Beau canon, Beauregard I Beau soldai, Beauregard I 

Beau sabreurl beau frappeur / Beauregard! Beauregard I' 

Now I've shocked that old lady crossing the street! Harry, tell 
her it was a Russian hymn!" 

They walked on beneath the bright trees. "The wedding 

has been postponed," said Unity. "They thought there was time, 
but two days before the day they had set, he had to go. It will be as 
soon as he comes back." 

"By George! but I was at a wedding out in Hanover!" said the 
lieutenant-colonel. "The bride was dressed in homespun, with a 
wreath of apple blossoms. The bridesmaids were in black, just taken 
as they were from all the neighbouring families. The groom had 
lost his arm and a piece of shell at Mine Run had cut away an ear, 
just as neat! The best man was a lame civilian who had somehow 
inherited and held fast a beautiful black broadcloth suit, — very 
tight pantaloons and a sprigged velvet waistcoat! He had acted, 
he told me, as best man at thirty weddings in the last year 'because 
he had the clothes.' The wedding guests had come in what they 
had and it was a wonderful display. The bride had six brothers and 
a father marching on the Wilderness, and the groom was just out 
of hospital. There were three wounded cousins in the house, and 
in the stable a favourite war-horse being doctored for a sabre cut. 
Most of the servants had left, but there was a fiddler still on the 
place, and we danced till midnight. There was a Confederate bride- 
cake, and a lot of things made with dried apples and sorghum. By 
George, it was fine! " 

" The bell ! " 

The iron vcJice rang through the city. Faces came to the open 



RICHMOND 309 

windows, questioning voices arose, men passed, walking rapidly, 
the aide and the lieutenant-colonel said good-bye in haste and went 
with the rest. The loud ringing ceased ; it had not lasted long enough 
to mark anything very terrible. Judith and Unity waited by a 
honeysuckle-draped gate until the clamour had ceased, and then 
until there came reassurance from a passer-by. "Nothing alarm- 
ing! A slight engagement at Drewry's Bluff, and a feint this way!" 

The kinsman's house where Judith had stayed before sheltered 
now the two sisters. Judith was here because, during the weeks of 
inaction preceding the opening of the campaign, Cleave could now 
and again come to Richmond for a day. Unity was here because of 
sheer need of change, so weary long had been the winter at Green- 
wood. Change was change, even if both plays were tragedies. Now 
they went into the house that, like all houses in Richmond, was filled 
with people. Of the three sons, one had died in prison and the others 
were with Lee. The house was murmurous with the voices of women 
and quite elderly men, across which bubbled the clear notes of 
children. So much of the great State was overrun now by the foe, 
so many homes were burned, so much subsistence was destroyed, so 
impossible was it to stay in the old home region, that always, every- 
where, occurred a movement of refugees. There was a tendency for 
the streams to set toward Richmond; unwise but natural. Almost 
every quarter was now threatened; one went into peaceful fields 
to-day, and to-morrow one must move again. Richmond! Rich- 
mond w£is surely safe, Richmond would surely never fall. . . . 
There was a restless straining, too, toward the heart of things. 
So the refugees came to Richmond and, with the troops coming 
and going, and Government and the departments and the inmates 
of the great hospitals and the inmates of the mournful prisons, 
crowded the city. 

Judith and Unity had together the small, high-up, white room 
behind the tulip tree that had been Judith's before and during and 
after the Seven Days. Now they climbed to it, laid away their 
things, and prepared for the three o'clock dinner. Judith sat in the 
window-seat, her hands about her knee,her head thrown back against 
the white wood, her eyes on the shimmering distance seen between 
the boughs. 

"Once this window faced as it should," she said; " I could watch 



3IO CEASE FIRING 

the camp-fires each night — and I watched — I watched. But now 
I wish it were a northwest window." 

Unity, at the mirror, coiled her bright, brown hair. "By the time 
it was cut you might need another." 

"That is true," said Judith. "The sky reddens all round, and 
one needs a room all windows." 

They went downstairs. As they approached the cool dining-room, 
with its portraits and silver and old blue china, a very sweet voice 
floated out. "He said, 'Exactly, madam! You take your money 
to market in the market-basket, and you bring home whit you buy 
in your pocketbook!'" 

The next day and the next they spent in part at a hospital, in 
part breathlessly waiting with the waiting city for news, news, news! 
— news from Spottsylvania, where the great fighting was in pro- 
gress; news from south of the river, where Butler, most hated of all 
foes, was entrenched, where there was fighting at Port Walthall; 
news, on the tenth, of Sheridan's approach, of much burning and 
destroying, news that Stuart was coimtering Sheridan. " Oh, it is all 
right, then!" said many; but yet by day and by night there was 
tenseness of apprehension. 

All the town was hot and breathless. The alarm bell rang, the 
dust whirled through the streets. The night of the tenth, Judith 
and Unity were wakened by a drum beating. A minute later a voice 
spoke outside their door. "Sheridan is within a few miles of Rich- 
mond. He is moving on us with eight thousand horse. Your cousin 
says you had better get up and dress." 

All of the household except the sleeping children gathered on 
the porch that overhung the pavement. It was two o'clock. The 
drtun was still beating and now there came by soldiers. We're going 
out the Brook Turnpike, said the drum. Out the Brook Turnpike. 
Meet them! We' re going to meet them! Three or four regiments passed. 
The drum turned a comer and the sound died, going northward. 
The streets were filled with people as though it were day. They 
-went up and down quietly enough; without panic, but seized by a 
profound restlessness. Toward four o'clock a man came riding up 
the street on horseback, stopping every hundred yards or so to say 
in a loud, manly voice, "The President has heard from General 
StuarL With Fitzhugh Lee and Hampton and Munford, General 



RICHMOND 311 

Stuart has taken position between us and a large cavalry force under 
Sheridan. There has been a fight at Ashland in which we were 
victors. General Stuart is now approaching Yellow Tavern. The 
President says, 'Good people, go to bed, Richmond's got a great 
shield before it!'" 

The eleventh dawned. Richmond now heard the cannon again, 
from the north and from the south. Judith and Unity heard them 
from the hospital windows. There was a delirious soldier whom they 
had to hold in bed because he thought that it was his battery fight- 
ing against odds, and Pegram was calling him. "Yes, Major! I'm 
coming! Yes, Major! I've got the powder. I'm coming!" By ten 
o'clock ran through the excited ward the tidings that they were 
fighting, fighting in Spottsylvania, "Fighting like hell." The sound 
of cannon came from the south side. "Butler over there — New 
Orleans Butler! ! ! When's Beauregard coming ?" 

" General Beauregard has come. He is at Petersburg." 

"Miss What's-your-name, why don't you warm your hands? 
That ain't any way to touch poor sick soldiers with them icicles like 
that! — O Lord, Lord! Why'd I ever come here ?" 

" Them cannon 's getting louder all the time. Louder 'n', louder 'n', 
louder—" 

"Shoo! They can't cross the river. Where's Jeb Stuart? What's 
he doing?" 

"He's fighting hard, six miles out, at Yellow Tavern. Uptown 
you can hear the firing!" 

A young man struggled up in bed, first coughing, then breathing 
with a loud, whistling soimd. The doctor glanced his way, then 
looked at a nurse. "It's come. I '11 give him something so he can go 
easily. Let him lean against you. Tell the men to try to be quiet." 

Out at Yellow Tavern, six miles north of Richmond, Sheridan 
was formed in line of battle. Over against him was Stuart, his men 
dismounted. The blue delivered a great volley, advanced, volleyed 
again, advanced, shouting. The grey returned their fire. James 
Stuart, sitting his horse just behind his battle-line, swung his hat, 
lifted his voice that was the voice of a magician, "Steady, men, 
steady! Give a good day's account of yourself! Steady! Steady!" 

The firing became fiercer and closer. There was a keening sound 
in the air. Stuart's voice suddenly dropped ; he swayed in his saddle. 



J 12 CEASE FIRING 

A mounted courier pressed toward him. "Go," he said; "go tell 
General Lee and Dr. Fontaine to come here." The courier spurred 
away and the men around Stuart lifted him from his horse, and, 
mourning, bore him to the rear. 

That evening they brought him into the city and laid him in the 
house of his brother-in-law. His wife was sent for, but she was miles 
away, in the troubled, overrun countryside, and though she fared 
toward him in haste and anguish, she spoke to him no more alive. 
Friends were around him — his mourning officers, all the mourning 
city. The President came and stood beside the bed, and tried to 
thank him. " You have saved Richmond, General. You have always 
been a bulwark to us . . ." He asked for a hymn that he liked — 
^'I would not live alway." He had lived but thirty-one years. He 
asked often for his wife. "Is she come?" . . . "Is she come?" She 
•could not come in time. The evening of the twelfth he died, quite 
peacefully, and those who looked on his dead face said that the 
sunshine abided. 

They buried Jeb Stuart in Hollywood, buried him with no pag- 
eantry of martial or of civil woe. One year ago there had been in 
Richmond for Stonewall Jackson such pageantry. To-day 

"We could not pause, while yet the noontide air 

Shook with the cannonade's incessant pealing . . . 

"One weary year ago, when came a lull, 

With victory in the conflict's stormy closes, 
When the glad spring, all flushed and beautiful, 
First mocked us with her roses — 

"With dirge and bell and minute gun we paid 
Some few poor rites, an inexpressive token, 
Of a great people's pain, to Jackson's shade. 
In agony unspoken. 

"No wailing trumpet and no tolling bell. 

No cannon, save the battle's boom receding, 
When Stuart to the grave we bore, might tell. 
With hearts all crushed and bleeding . . ." 

But the people thronged to Hollywood, above the rushing river. 
Hollow and hill, ivy-mantled oaks and grass purpled with violets, 
the place was a good one in which to lay down the outworn form 
that had done service and was loved. Flowers grew there with a 
wild luxuriance. To-day they were brought beside from all gardens — 



RICHMOND 313 

"We well remembered how he loved to dash, 

Into the fight, festooned from summer's bowers. 
How like a fountain's spray, his sabre flash, 
Leaped from a mass of flowers — " 

To-day flowers lined the open grave; they covered the coffin and 
the flag. 

Back in the hospital a man with three wounds wailed all night. " I 
had a brother and he was living up North and so he thought that- 
er-way. And he wrote that he held by the Nation just as hard as I 
held by the State. And so he up and joined the Army of the Poto- 
mac and came down here. And in the Wilderness the other day — 
and in the Wilderness the other day — oh, in the Wilderness the 
other day — I was sharpshooting! I was up in a tree, close to the 
bark, like a 'pecker. There was a gully below with a stream running 
down it, and on the other side of the gully was an oak with a man 
in it, close to the bark like a 'pecker. And we were Yank and Johnny 
Reb, and so every time one of us showed as much as the tip of a 
'pecker's wing, the other one fired. We fired and fired. And at last 
he was n't so cautious, and I got him. And first his musket fell, down 
and down, for he was up high. And then the body came and it hit 
every bough as it came. And something in me gave a word of com- 
mand. It said 'Go and look.' I got down out of the oak, for I was- 
in an oak tree, too, and I went down one side of the gully and up the 
other. And he was lying all doubled up. And I got another word of 
command, ' Turn him over.' And I did, and he was my brother. . . . 
And I'm tired of war." 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

COLD HARBOUR 

THESE were the moves of the following two weeks. Six days, 
from the day of the Bloody Angle to the eighteenth of 
May, the two armies stayed as they were, save for slight, 
shifting, wary movements, as of two opposed Indians in the brush. 
On the eighteenth, the blue attacked — again the salient. Ewell, 
with thirty guns, broke and scattered the assault. On the nine- 
teenth, the "sidling" process recommenced. On this day Ewell 
came into contact with the Federal left, and in the engagement that 
ensued both sides lost heavily. The night of the twentieth, the Army 
of the Potomac, Hancock leading, started for the North Anna. 
The morning of the twenty-first, the Army of Northern Virginia 
struck, by the Telegraph Road, for the same stream. It had the 
inner line, and it got there first. At noon the twenty-second it 
began to cross the river. That night Lee and his men rested on the 
southern bank. Morning of the twenty-third showed on the opposite 
shore the head of the blue column. 

The blue crossed at Jericho Ford, and by the Chesterfield Bridge, 
not without conflict and trouble. It won over, but over in two dis- 
tinctly separated wings, and that which separated them was Robert 
Edward Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Here was now 
another V, the point now upon the river, unassailable, the sides 
entrenched, the blue army split in twain. Followed two days of 
unavailing attempts to find a way to crush the V. Then, on the 
night of the twenty-sixth, the blue, having fairly effectively hidden 
its intention, "sidled" again. The Army of the Potomac left the 
North Anna, taking the road for the Pamunkey which it crossed at 
Hanover. The V at once became a column and followed. 

The two antagonists were now approaching old and famed war 
grounds. On the twenty-eighth, grey cavalry and blue cavalry — 
Sheridan against Fitz Lee and Wade Hampton — crashed together 
at Hawes's Shop. That night Army of the Potomac, Army of North- 



COLD HARBOUR 315 

em Virginia, watched each the other's camp-fires on the banks of 
the Totopotomoy. In the morning Grant started for the Chicka- 
hominy, but when he reached Cold Harbour it was to find Lee 
between him and the river. 

Two days the two foes rested. There had been giant marching- 
through giant heat, constant watching, much fighting. The country 
that was difficult in the days of McClellan was not less so in the 
days of Grant. Marsh and swamp and thicket and hidden roads, 
and now all desolate from years of war. . . . The first of June 
passed, the second of June passed, with skirmishes and engagements 
that once the country would have stood a-tiptoe to hear of. Now 
they were nothing. The third of June the battle of Cold Harbour 
crashed into history. . . . 

The dawn came up, crowned with pale violets, majestical and 
still. Upon the old woods, the old marshes, hung a mist, cool and 
silvery. There came a sweet cry of birds in the grey tree-tops. Lee's 
long grey lines, concave to the foe, stretched from Alexander's- 
Bridge on the Chickahominy to the upper Totopotomoy. On the 
low earthworks hung the gossafners, dewy bright. Grant held the 
Sydnor's Sawmill, Bethesda Church, and Old Cold Harbour line, 
roughly paralleling the other. But he was north of Lee; Lee was 
again between him and Richmond — Richmond so near now, so 
very near! Richmond was there before him — no room now for 
"swinging past," and the lion was there, too, in the path. 

Grant attacked in column. Deep and narrow-fronted, he thrust 
against the grey earthworks like a giant mill-race rather than a wide 
ocean, like one solid catapult rather than a mailed fist at every door. 
Twenty deep, the Second and Sixth Corps poured into the depres- 
sion that was the grey centre. Second and Sixth came on with a 
shout, and the grey answered with a shout and with every musket 
and cannon. Follovnng the Second and Sixth the Eighteenth, pha- 
lanxed, dashed itself against a salient held by Kershaw. . . . The 
battle of Cold Harbour was the briefest, the direst! Death swung a 
scythe against the three corps. They were in the gulf of the grey,, 
and Fate came upon them from three sides. In effect, it was all 
over in a very few minutes. . . . The shattered three corps fell 
back to what cover they could find. Here they fired ineffectively 
from this shelter and from that. Before them, between them and 



3i6 CEASE FIRING 

the Army of Northern Virginia, stretched the plain of their dead and 
dying, and both lay upon it like leaves in autumn. Orders came that 
the three corps should again attack. The more advanced commands 
obeyed by opening fire from behind what shelter they had found or 
could contrive, but there was no other movement. Put out a hand 
and the wind began to whistle and the air over that plain to grow 
dark with lead! Grant sent a third order. Corps of Hancock, Smith, 
and Wright to advance to the charge along the whole line. Corps com- 
manders repeated the order to division commanders; division com- 
manders repeated it to the brigadiers, but that was all. The three 
corps stood still. Statements, differing as to wording but tallying 
in meaning, travelled from grade to grade, back to Headquarters. 
"It is totally impossible, and the men know it. They are not to be 
blamed." 

By noon even Grant, who rarely knew when he was beaten, knew 
that he was beaten here. The firing sank away. "The dead and 
dying lay in front of the Confederate lines in triangles, of which the 
apexes were the bravest men who came nearest to the breastworks 
under the withering, deadly fire." Dead and wounded and missing, 
ten thousand men in blue felt the full force of that hour. Stubborn 
to the end, it was two days before Grant would send a flag of truce 
and ask permission to bury his dead and gather the wounded who 
had not raved themselves to death. " Cold Harbour! " he said, much 
later in his life; "Cold Harbour is, I think, the only battle I ever 
fought that I would not fight over again under the circumstances!" 

"In the opinion of a majority of its survivors," comments a 
Federal general, "the battle of Cold Harbour never should have 
been fought. It was the dreary, dismal, bloody, ineffective close of 
the Lieutenant-General's first campaign with the Army of the Poto- 
mac, and corresponded in all its essential features with what had 
preceded it. The wide and winding path through the tangled Wild- 
erness and the pines of Spottsylvania, which that army had cut 
from the Rapidan to the Chickahominy, had been strewn with the 
bodies of thousands of brave men, the majority of them wearing 
the Union blue." 

The Campaign of the Thirty Days was ended. Fifty-four thou- 
sand men was the loss of the blue; something over half that number 
the loss of the grey. Eighty thousand men lay dead, or writhing in 



COLD HARBOUR 317 

war-hospitals, or sat bowed in war-prisons. From the Atlantic to 
the Far West the current of human being in these States was 
troubled. There grew a sickness of feeling. The sun seemed to 
warm less strongly and the moon to shine less calmly. As always in 
war, the best and bravest from the first were taking flight; many 
and many of the good and brave were left, but they began to be 
conscious of a loneliness. "All, all are gone — the old, familiar facesi " 
And over the land sounded the mourning of homes — the mourning 
of the mothers and daughters of men. In the South life sank a 
minor third. The chords resounded still, but the wrists that struck 
were growing weak. Largo . . . Largo. 

For a week Army of Northern Virginia, Army of the Potomac, 
stood opposed on the old lines. They entrenched and entrenched, 
working by night ; they made much and deadly use of sharpshooters, 
they engaged in artillery duels, in alarums and excursions. On both 
sides life in the trenches was very frightful. They were so crowded, 
and the sharpshooters would not let you sleep. The wate5r was bad, 
and Uttle of it, and on the grey side, at least, there was hunger. The 
sun in heaven burned like a fiery furnace. Far and wide, through 
the tangled coimtry, lay the unburied bodies of men and horses. 
Sickness appeared, — malaria, dysentery. Hour after hour, day 
after day, you lay in the quivering heat, in the unshaded trench. Put 
out arm or head — some sharpshooter's finger pulled a trigger. 

In these days there began in the Valley of Virginia a movement 
of vandalism under Hunter who had succeeded Sigel. On the fifth 
of June, Lee sent thither Breckinridge with a small force. On the 
twelfth, with his calm, reasoned audacity, acting under the shadow 
of Grant's continually reinforced army, he detached Jubal Early, 
sent him with Stonewall Jackson's old Second Corps, by way of 
Charlottesville to the old hunting-grounds of the Second Corps, 
to the Valley of Virginia. 

The night of the twelfth of June, Grant lifted his tents and pushed 
to the eastward away from Richmond, then to the south, to Wilcox 
Landing below Malvern Hill, on the James. Here, where the river 
was seven hundred yards in width, fifty feet in depth, he built a 
very great bridge of boats, and here the Army of the Potomac 
crossed to the south side of the James. Grant turned his face 
toward Petersburg, twenty miles from Richmond. 



3i8 CEASE FIRING 

The forces of the North were now where McCIellan had wished 
to place them, using the great waterway of the Chesapeake and the 
James, something more than two years ago. They were in a position 
to mate. The Federal Government had worked the problem by the 
Rule of False. 

At dawn of the thirteenth, Lee left the lines of Cold Harbour and, 
passing the Chickahominy, bivouacked that night between White 
Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill. The next day and the next the Army 
of Northern Virginia crossed the James by pontoon at Drewry's 
Bluff, and pressed south to the Appomattox and the old town of 
Petersburg. Here was Beauregard, and here, on the fifteenth, 
Butler, by Grant's orders, had launched an attack from Bermuda 
Hundred, heroically repulsed by the small grey force at Petersburg. 
Now on the sixteenth and the seventeenth came Lee and the Army 
of Northern Virginia, entering the lines of Petersburg while drum 
and fife played "Dixie." Of the Army of the Potomac the Second 
and Ninth Corps were up and in position, the Fifth upon the road. 
Face to face again were Hector and Achilles, Army of Northern 
Virginia, Army of the Potomac, but the first again held the inner 
line. South of Richmond as north of Richmond, Grant found Lee 
between him and Richmond. 

There was a garden behind the kinsman's house in Richmond. 
Cleave and Judith, coming from the house, found it empty this 
afternoon save for its roses and its birds. A high wall, ivy-covered, 
cloistered it from the street. Beneath the tulip tree was a bench and 
they sat themselves down here. He leaned his head back against 
the bark and closed his eyes. It was several days before the lifting 
of the warring pieces across the river. With the Second Corps he 
was on his way to the Valley. "I did not know," he said, "that I 
was so tired. I have not slept for two nights." 

"Sleep now. I will sit here, just as quietly — " 

He smiled. "It is very likely that I would do that, is it not ?" 
Bending his head, he took her hands and pressed his forehead upon 
them. "Judith — Judith — Judith— " 

The birds sang, the roses bloomed. From the south came a dull 
booming, the cannon of Beauregard and of Butler, distant, continu- 
ous, like surf on breakers. The two paid it no especial attention. 



COLD HARBOUR 319 

Life had been set now for a long while to such an accompaniment. 
There was something at least as old as strife, and that was love; as 
old and as strong and as perpetually renewed. 

The shadows lengthened on the grass. There came a sound of 
bugles blowing. The lovers tiumed and clung and kissed, then in the 
violet Ught their hands fell apart. Cleave rose. "They are singing, 
'Come away!'" he said. 

There were stars in a wreath now upon the collar of his coat. 
She touched them, smiling through tears. "General Cleave. . . . 
It comes late but it comes well. . . . Oh, my general, my gen- 
eral!" 

"Little enough of the Stonewall Brigade remains," he said. "For 
the most part what was not killed and was not captured at Spott- 
sylvania has been gathered into Terry's brigade, and goes, too, 
to the Valley. But the Sixty-fifth goes with me and the Golden 
Brigade. The Golden Brigade cares for me because I am Warwick 
Gary's kinsman." 

"Not alone for that," she said, "but for that also . . . Oh, my 
father — my father! " 

From the street outside the garden wall came a sound of marching 
feet. Above the ivy showed, passing, the bayonet points. It was 
sunset and the west was crimson. Swallows circled above the house 
and the gold cups of the tulip tree. The marching feet went on, and 
the gleaming bayonet points. There came a flag, half visible above 
the ivy, silken, powder-darkened, battle-scarred. Cleave raised his 
hand in salute. The flag went by, the sound of the marching feet 
continued. High in the tree, against the rosy sky, a bird with a 
lyric throat began to sing, piercing sweet and clear. 

"Judith," said Cleave, "before I go, there is a thing I want to 
tell you. Two days ago I was riding by A. P. Hill's lines. There was 
a marshy place, on the edge of which the men were raising a breast- 
work. Judith, I am certain that I saw Stafford. He has done as I 
did — done what was and is the simple, the natural thing to do. 
Whether under his own name or another, he is there, heaping breast- 
works as a private soldier." 

"He could not do as you did! You went clear and clean, and he — " 

"I do not know that there is ever any sharp line of difference. 
It is a matter of degree. I have come," said Cleave simply, "to 



320 CEASE FIRING 

understand myself less and other people more. I did not show that 
I recognized him, for I could not tell if he would wish it . . . I 
thought that you should know. It is not a time now for enmities." 
" God knows that that is true," said Judith, weeping. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

LITTLE PUMPKIN-VINE CREEK 

THE log cabin looked out upon a wooded world, a world that 
rolled and shimmered, gold-green, blue-green, violet-green, 
to horizons of bright summer sky. In the distancej veiled 
with Ught, sprang Lost Mountain and the cone of Kennesaw. Far or 
near there were hamlets — Powder Spring, Burnt Hickory, Roxanna 
— north, there was the village of AUatoona, and south, that of Dallas ; 
but from the log cabin all were sunk in a sea of emerald. New Hope 
Church was somewhere near, but its opening, too, was hardly more 
than guessed at. But Pxmipkin-Vine Creek might be seen in its 
meanderings, and the rippling daughter stream that the soldiers 
called "Little Pumpkin- Vine" flashed by the hill on which stood 
the cabin. 

It was a one-room-and-a-lean-to, broken-down, deserted, log- 
and-clay thing. Whoever had lived in it had flown, leaving ashes 
on the hearth, and a hop-vine flowering over a tiny porch. A mon- 
ster pine tree, scaled like a serpent, sent its brown shaft a hundred 
feet in air. Upon the sandy hilltop grew pennyroyal. Pine and 
pennyroyal, the intense sunshine drew out their strength. All the 
air was dryness and warmth and a pleasant odour. 

Steadying himself by the lintel Edward Cary rose from the log 
that made the doorstep. A stick leaned against the wall. He took 
this, and proceeded, slow-paced, to make his way to the pine tree 
and the low brink of the hill above the creek. The transit occupied 
some minutes, but at last he reached the pine, tired but happy. 
There was a wonderful purple-brown carpet beneath. He half sat, 
half reclined upon it, and leaning forward watched Desir^e on her 
knees before a little shallow bay of the creek. It was washerwoman's 
day. There were stepping-stones in the clear brown water, and she 
was across the stream, her head downbent, very intently scrubbing. 

"O saw ye bonny Lesley," — 
sang Edward, — 



322 CEASE FIRING 

"As she gaed o'er the Border ? 
She's gane like Alexander, 
To spread her conquests further." 

Desiree straightened herself. "How did you come there ? I left 
you asleep. Ah, a wicked patient — a malingerer! " 
"The cabin was cold, so I came out into the sun." 
She rose from her knees, took up the small heap of her washing, 
and, stepping lightly from stone to stone, came to his side of the 
water. Here, in a square of absolute gold, she spread the washing 
out to dry. Her sleeves were rolled up to her shoulders, her thick 
and beautiful hair hung braided to her knee, she looked in that 
quaint place like an enchanted princess out of a rosy fairy tale. 

"O my Luve's like a red, red rose," — 



sang Edward, — 



"That's newly sprung in June: 
O my Luve's like the melodie, 
That's sweetly played in tune! — " 

D6siree turned, came up the pennyroyal bank, and sat beside him 
on the pine-needle carpet. Bending, he pressed his lips on her bare 
arm. 

"As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, 
So deep in luve am I — " 

In the distance they heard the sound of axes against the trees. 
Breastworks and rifle-pits were in the making over there. Light 
curls of smoke told where were camp-fires. Not far away the creek 
was crossed by a wood road. Now a score of horses with three guard- 
ian men came down to the ford to drink. Somewhere a bugle 
sounded. Brown and black and grey, the horses pricked their ears; 
then, satisfied that it was not battery bugle, dropped again to the 
cool water. Out of the forest across Little Pumpkin- Vine came a 
steady, dreamy humming — voices of the Army of Tennessee, en- 
camped here, encamped there, in this region south of the Etowah. 

"I should like to die on a day like this," said Desiree. "Just such 
a day — and life so strong and sweet ! To touch, taste, smell, hear, 
see, feel, and know it all — and then to go, carr3dng the flavour with 
you!" 

"With which to set up housekeeping again ?" 



LITTLE PUMPKIN-VINE CREEK 32;^ 

"With which to set up housekeeping again — in a larger, better 
house." 

"But with old comrades?" 

She let the pine needles stream through her hands. "Certainly 
with old comrades. Father . . . Louis . . , People who used to 
come to Cape Jessamine, people I have known elsewhere. ... All 
people, in fact, and all in better, larger houses ... all old com- 
rades" — she turned and kissed him — "and one lover." 

"In a better, nobler house," said Edward. "But don't die, Desiree 
— not yet — not yet — " 

The creek murmured, the wind whispered, the wild bees hummed 
above the flowers. Somewhere down the stream was an army forge. 
Clink I clink I went hammer against iron. On some hidden road, too, 
guns were passing — you heard the riunble and the whinnying of 
the horses. In another direction wagons were parked; there was a 
sense, through vague openings in a leafy world, of the white, bubble- 
like tops. More horses came to the ford to be watered. The sun 
grew brighter and brighter, climbing the sky, the pine and penny- 
royal more pungently alive, the voices in the wide woods distincter, 
less Uke a dreamy wash of the sea. The hazel bushes across the 
stream parted and two men appeared with water-buckets. They 
dipped for their mess, adjusted their heavy wet burdens and went 
away, sociably talking. 

" 'T was while we was fighting at Cassville. Jake thought he was 
killed, but he wasn't! Funny fellow, but you can't help liking 
him!" 

"That's so! He's got converted. Converted last meeting. Says 
he don't know but one prayer and was kind of surprised he re- 
membered that. Says it now before every little fight we go into. 

Says — 

" 'Now I lay me down to sleep, 

Pray the Lord my soul to keep — ' " 

"Sho! Everybody remembers that! Taught it to us most be- 
fore we could talk! 

" 'Now I lay me down to sleep, 

Pray the Lord my soul to keep, 
Ij I should die before I wake 
Pray the Lord my soul to take — '" 



324 CEASE FIRING 

The hazel bushes closed and the voices died like a ripple out of 
water. The light grew more golden, the shadows shorter. Late 
May in Georgia was more hot than a Northern midsummer, but 
to-day a crisp breeze made the heat of no moment. The air was very 
dry, life-giving. A soldier with a fishing-pole made his appearance. 
He came along beneath the bank and the pine tree, chose a deepish 
pool and a rock to sit on, placed a tin cup with bait beside the latter, 
and had baited his hook and cast the line before he observed his 
neighbours. He rose and saluted, then made a movement to take up 
his bait-cup and proceed downstream. 

"No, no!" said Edward. "Fish ahead! But are there any fish 
there?" 

The fisherman sat down upon the rock. "I'm not really expecting 
any. But catching fish is not all there is in fishing." 

"Quite true," said Edward, and lay back upon the purple-brown 
carpet. D^siree sat with her hands about her knee, her eyes upon 
a vast castle of cloud, rising pearl-bright, into the azure sky. 

The fisherman fished, but caught nothing. "I expect," he said, 
" that there is good fishing in the Etowah. Looked so the day we 
crossed it." 

"That was a hard crossing," said DIsiree. 

"Hard enough!" answered the fisherman. "But Old Joe got us 
across. I am not one of the grumblers." 

"There was n't much grumbling." 

"That's so! Army of Tennessee's a right fine body of men." 

He cast again. "It's quieter than Sleepy Hollow this morning! 
There was a considerable rumpus yesterday. They say, too, that 
General Wheeler got in on their rear and beat a brigade and cap- 
tured two hundred and fifty wagons. I reckon we'll hear raindrops 
on the roof before night!" 

"I shouldn't be surprised." 

"These pesky little battles," said the fisherman. "I've stopped 
counting them — Thought I had a bite! " 

" Many a little makes a mickle." 

"That's true! We've been fighting for a month, and we 're walk- 
ing round to-day like a game-cock looking at his spurs. Army of 
Tennessee and Joseph E. Johnston." 

He bent his eyes upon his pole. The wind sung in the pine tree, 



LITTLE PUMPKIN-VINE CREEK 325 

clink ! clink I went the forge downstream. The pearly cloud castle 
rose higher. Off on the left, where was Hardee's corps, a bugle trilled 
as sweetly as a bird. There were a million forest odours, with the 
pine, played upon by the sunshine, for dominant. The dry piure air 
was life-giving. 

"I gather," said the fisherman; "that there are, on our side, two 
theories as to the conduct of this war. The one wants great crash- 
ing battles that shall force the foe to cry, 'Hold, enough!' — 'Fight 
him on sight, and without regard to odds.' The other says, 'We 
have n't got many men, and when they're gone, we have no more. 
There's only one set of chessmen in this estabUshment. So spare 
your men. We've got a Goliath to fight. Well, don't rush at him! 
— Fence with him; maybe you'll prove the better fencer. Don't 
strike Just to be striking; strike when you see an advantage to follow! 
You can't thrash ^im outright; he 's too big. But you may wear him 
out. Giants sometimes lack a giant patience. This one has a con- 
siderable clamour for peace behind him at home. Save yoiu: men, 
strike only when there's sense in striking, and take Time into your 
councils! You may not win this way, but you certainly won't the 
other way.' The first's the Administration and a considerable part 
of the press, and the last's Joseph E. Johnston." 

" ' There was a general named Fabius,' " said Edward. — "You 're 
a good observer." 

"I'm a better observer than I am a fisherman," said the disciple 
of Walton. 

Desiree stepped down the bank into the square of gold and gath- 
ered up her washing. With it over one arm she retxu:ned and gave 
her hands to Edward. They said good-day to the fisherman, and 
went away, up the slight hill, Edward doing well with his stick 
and an arm over her shoulder. They laughed like children in the 
sunshine. 

They had what she called "tisane" for dinner — "tisane" with 
hard-tack criunbled in. A drummer-boy, straying by, was given his 
share. They sat on billets of wood underneath the hop-vine, ate and 
drank and were happy. The boy was fourteen and small for his age. 
He had a shock of sunburnt hair and a happy, freckled face, and 
he said that he hoped the war would never stop. When every crumb 
and drop was gone, he volunteered to "wash up,"and went whistling 



326 CEASE FIRING 

down to Little Pumpkin-Vine with the tin cups and spoons and small, 
black kettle. 

Other soldiers strayed past the cabin. An orderly appeared, sent 
by officers' mess of the th Virginia. He bore, together with en- 
quiries and messages, to-morrow's rations. A picket detail went 
marching over the hilltop. About three o^clock came a clattering of 
horses' hoofs. The hill was a fair post of observation, and here was 
the commanding general with his staff. All stopped beneath the 
pine; Johnston pointed with his hand, now here, now there; his chief 
of staff beside him nodding comprehension. 

Then the General, dismomiting, came over to the cabin. "No, 
no! don't stand!" he said to Edward. "I only want to ask Mrs- 
Cary for a cup of water. How is the wound to-day ?" 

"Very much better, sir. I'll report for duty presently." 

"Don't hurry," said Johnston, with kindness. "It's a mistake to 
get well too quickly." He had much warm magnetism, tenderness 
with illness, an affectionate deference always toward women. He 
took the cup of water from Desiree, thanked her, and said that evi- 
dently the campaign had not harmed her. "Women always were 
the best soldiers." 

General Mackall had ridden up. "There's many a true word 
said in jest," he remarked. 

"I did n't say it ia jest, sir," said Johnston. He moimted and 
gathered up the reins, an erect and soldierly figure. "General 
Hood," he said, "is moving from AUatoona, and I have ordered 
Hardee's corps back from the Dallas and Atlanta road. There may 
come a general battle on this grotmd. If it arrives, my dear," — he 
spoke to Desiree, — "you apply for an ambulance and leave this 
cabin!" 

Off he rode in the golden light. At sunset came marching by the 

th Virginia, going toward New Hope Church. The road ran 

behind the cabin. Desiree helped Edward out to it, and they stood 
in a little patch of sunflowers and greeted the regiment. The regi- 
ment to a man greeted back. The colonel stopped his horse and 
talked, the captains smiled and nodded, the men gave the two a 
cheer. It was one of the friendly, sunshiny moments of war. The 
regiment was like a dear and good family; everywhere in and out 
ran the invisible threads of kindliness. The regiment passed, the 



LITTLE PUMPKIN-VINE CREEK 327 

rhythmic beat of feet dying from this stretch of the road. Desiree 
and Edward went back to the cabin through the languorous, South- 
ern dusk, with the lanterns of the fire-flies beginning, and the large 
moths sailing by. There was a moon, and all night, in the wood 
behind the cabin, a mocking-bird was singing. 

The next day and the next and the next there was fighting — not 
"a great, crashing battle," but stubborn fighting. It waxed furious 
enough where Hooker struck Stewart's division of Hood's at New 
Hope Church, and where, on the twenty-eighth, Cleburne and 
Wheeler met and forced back Palmer and Howard; but when cahn 
came again only a couple of thousand of each colour lay dead or 
wounded around New Hope Church. 

The calm fell on Sunday. Edward and Desir6e, sitting beneath 
the pine tree, marked the cannons' diminuendo. It was a hot and 
heavy day and the dead and wounded were on their hearts. Yet to 
them, too, it was fearfuUy an everyday matter. The time to visual- 
ize what wiU fall under the harrow of war is before the harrow is 
set in motion. Afterwards comes in Inevitableness with iron Hps, 
and Fatalism with unscrutinizing gaze, and Use with filmed eyes, 
and Instinct with her cry, "Do not look too closely, seeing one must 
keep one's senses!" and Old Habit with her motto, "True children 
do as their fathers did." — And so at last, on both sides, from the 
general to the drummer-boy, from the civil ruler to the woman 
scraping lint, no one looks very closely at what falls beneath the 
harrow. Madness Hes that way, and in war one must be very sane. 
No one escaped the taint of not looking, not even the two beneath 
the pine tree. 

0£E in the horizon clouds were piling up. Presently there was heard 
a mutter of thunder. Edward and Desiree watched the sky darken 
and the big pine begin to sway. In the distance there was yet an 
occasional boom of cannon. " That is toward Dallas," said Edward. 
"Earth thunder and heaven thunder." 

The lightning flashed. The earth voices began to lose out, the 
aerial ones to gather strength. A wind lifted the dust and the small 
dry debris of grass and herb. The old pine cones came shaking 
down. The thunder began to peal. Desiree rose. "We must go 
indoors. It has the right of way now — the old, old storm." 

As they reached the cabin the thimder grew loud above them. 



328 CEASE FIRING 

The dust of the earth went by in a whirlwind. Rain was falling, in 
heavy pellets like lead, but as yet it had not lightened the oppression. 
The two leaned against the doorway and watched. A blinding flash, 
a sound as of falling battlements of the sky, and the pine tree was 
blasted before them. 



CHAPTER XXX 

KENNESAW 

THE blue anny was massed beyond Noonday Creek, in front 
of Pine Mountain, and on tie Burnt Hickory road. The 
grey held a line from Gilgal Chmrch to a point beyond the 
Marietta and Ackworth road. It was the fourteenth of June — 
news just received by way of Atlanta of Grant's movement toward 
the James. On the crest of Pine Mountain was a grey outpost — 
Bates's Division of Hardee's corps. At Gilgal Church, Johnston, on 
his chestnut horse, was in conversation with that churchman-mili- 
tant with a Spartan name — Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk. 
Hardee rode up. " General, I should be grateful if you would come 
with me to the top of the mountain yonder. Bates there is too 
exposed." 

The three, Johnston with Hardee and Polk, rode through the 
thick brush, by a narrow and rough bridle-path, up to the crown of 
the low mountain. Dismounting in the rear of Bates's works they 
went forward on foot, the men saluting where they lay behind heaped 
logs. Overhanging the slope was a parapet, and the three walked 
here, opening their field-glasses as they walked. Before them 
stretched the wooded country, and fuU in sight, the heavy lines of 
the foe. Not a thousand feet away a field-battery held a hilltop. 

"Wait till nightfall," said Johnston, "then let Bates join you at 
Gilgal." 

He lowered his field-glass. Out of the mouth of one of the blue 
cannon on the hilltop came a puff of white smoke. The shot cut 
away a bough of the oak under which the three were standing. " Cer- 
tainly this parapet is too exposed," said Hardee. " Come this way. 
General." As they moved diagonally across the spur, the blue guns 
opened full pack. A shot passed through the breast of Leonidas 
Polk, sometime Bishop of Louisiana. He fell, Ijong at full length 
upon the summit, dead, with a pleasant look upon his face. 

On the sixteenth, grey left and blue right shifted positions, coming 



330 CEASE FIRING 

again to face each other. There was skirmishing and cavalry fight- 
ing. On the nineteenth, the two fencers again changed ground. The 
grey left, Hardee, now stretched across the Lost Mountain and 
Marietta road; the grey right. Hood, lay beyond the Canton road; 
and Loring, who had succeeded Polk, held flank and crest of Kenne- 
saw Mountain. At once, grey and blue, the interminable entrench- 
ing began again, the grey throwing up earthworks and defences, the 
blue making lines of approach. Throughout the latter half of June, 
hour after hour, day after day, night after night, there was fighting. 
The first half of the month it had poured rain. Torrent after torrent 
had successfully interfered with man's operations. Under streaming 
skies, with the earth semi-liquid, the roads bottomless, the imend- 
ing forest like oozy growths of an ocean floor, entrenching, ma- 
noeuvres for advantage of position, attack and parry — one and 
all had been attended with difficulties. General Rain and General 
Mud had as usual put their imrecorded fingers into the current of 
events. But now, though sim and cloud still fought, the roads were 
drjmig and there was fighting every day. 

Up on the crest of Kennesaw, Edward Gary, lying with his men 
behind a work of earth and logs, saw the sun rise and the sun set, and 
often in the dead of night the solemn pomp of stars. All around 
him, beneath the stars, were the shadowy forms of sleeping men. 
The footfall of the pickets could be heard, that and the breathing 
of the sleepers. Slowly came on the grey dawn; reveille sounded 
and the day's work was before you. Night came again and the stars 
and the shadowy forms of men — though not all, who were breath- 
ing the night before, breathed now where they slept. 

Gary's mind ranged far from the comfortless top of Kennesaw. 
First of all and oftenest it looked southward, across the forest, to 
where, in a farmhouse near Smyrna Ghurch, D6sir6e slept or waked. 
It paused there, suspended, watching her where she lay, then passed 
from the quiet room and swept in widening circles around the core 
of life. . . . This Georgian battle-ground! Fifty days now of a 
great strategic campaign — Dalton and the spring-time far behind 
— Atlanta and the pitched battle that must toss victory into this 
camp or into that drawing nearer. The Army of Tennessee, stanch 
and cheerful even in the rain-filled rifle-pits on Kennesaw; gaunt, 
heroic, like its brother the Army of Northern Virginia. . . . Not 



KENNESAW 331 

the Georgia battle-grounds alone; — all battle-fields — all the South 
one battle-field, fringed and crossed with weary, weary, weary 
marches! Suddenly he saw how red were the rivers and how many 
houses were blackened ruins. There was a great loneliness, and he 
thought he saw children stra3ong, lost, across the plain. Edward 
sat up and rested his forehead on his hands. " What is it all for ? " 
bethought. "It is absurd." The sky was clear to-night. He looked 
up at the Great Bear and the Dragon. "We are in a world of 
contradictories. There is the heroic, the piteous, and the beautiful, 
there is a loud and sweet music, — and yet it is all in the service of 
the King of the Dwarfs, of a gnome with a gnome's brain. . . . How 
to change the service ?" 

In the cold hotu: before the dawn, he slept, to be presently awak- 
ened by the sovmd of the pickets' pieces and a night attack. Half 
an hour's fighting rolled it back, down Kennesaw, but when it was 
done the men were kept awake lest the wave should return. 

They talked, behind the breastworks, while the stars faded. 
"Wish it was a false alarm! Wish I'd wake up and find myself 
asleep." 

"O God, yes! In my bed at home." 

"Talking about false alarms — Did you ever hear about Spauld- 
ing?" 

"What Spaulding ? — No." 

"It was in Mississippi; — Grant somewhere near, but nobody 
knew how near; — all of us scattered over a few hills and marshes, 
keeping pretty good lookout, but yet knowing that nobody could be 
within a day's march of us. In comes Spaulding in haste to head- 
quarters, to the general's tent. In he comes, pale and excited, and 
he brings a piece of news that was indeed alarming! He had been 
on a hill overlooking the river — I forget its name — there 's such an 
infinity of rivers in this covmtry! Anyhow he had seen the most 
amazing thing, and that was what he had come like lightning back 
to the camp to tell the general about. A column of the enemy was 
crossing the river — they had laid pontoons and they were crossing 
by them and by a ford as well. It was a large force — a diAdsion 
undoubtedly, possibly a corps. Artillery was crossing as he looked. 
The ford was black with infantry, and there was cavalry on the far- 
ther bank. A man on a great black horse was directing. On this 



332 CEASE FIRING 

side was a man on a very tall grey horse, a man with a bloody hand- 
kerchief tied round his head mider his hat. The troops saluted hirn 
as they came out of the water. All were crossing very silently and 
swiftly. Spaulding had rim all the way from the hill; he had to put 
his hand to his side as he talked, he was so breathed. — Well, im- 
mediately there was activity enough at headquarters, but still activ- 
ity with a doubt, it was so amazing! What were the pickets doing 
— to say nothing of the cavalry? Well, the long roll was beaten, and 
everybody scurried to arms, and off went two aides at full speed to 
the hilltop to examine that thief in the night-time crossing, and 
Spaulding went behind the one on the strongest horse. He was just 
as calm and sure. 'Yes, it's amazing, but it's so! I think the man 
on the black horse is Grant. I could n't see the face of the man on 
the grey horse — only the bloody cloth around his head.' Well, they 
got there, all the fuss behind them of the regiments forming — they 
got to the hilltop and there was the river sure enough before them, 
just as the aides knew it would be. 'Now, you see! ' says Spaulding, 
for he had been hurt by the way everybody, even the general, said, 
'Impossible!' — 'See what?' say the aides. 'Are you mad?' asks 
Spaulding impatiently. 'The bridge and the ford and the crossing 
guns and infantry, the man on the black horse and the man on the 
grey with the cloth arotmd his head.' — One of the aides rides down 
the hillside toward the river and finds a picket. 'Have you seen any- 
thing unusual up or down or across the river ? ' 'No,' says the picket, 
or words to that effect. 'Have you?" — Well, that aide goes back 
and he takes Spaulding by the shoulders and shakes him. And then 
the two, they stand on either side of him, and the one says, 'Look 
now, and pretty quick about it, and tell us what you see!' — 'You 
damned fools,' says Spaulding, 'I see a column crossing, infantry 
and artillery, a man on a black horse directing, and a man on a grey 
horse with a bloody cloth — ' And then he stopped speaking and 
stared, the colour going out of his face and his eyes starting from 
his head. And presently he just slipped like water down between 
them and sat upon the earth. 'Great God!' he said, 'there is n't 
anything there!' — So they took him back to headquarters, the 
drums still beating and everybody getting into ranks — " 

"What did they do to him ?" 

"Well, if he'd been a drinking man he'd have been drumhead 



KENNESAW 333 

coxirt-martialled and shot. But he was n't — he was a nice, dean, 
manly kind of young fellow, a great mathematician, and the boys all 
liked him, and his officers, too. And he was so covered with confu- 
sion 't was pitiful. The general's a mighty good man. He said those 
things happened sometimes, and he quoted Shakespeare that there 
are more experiences in heaven and earth — or words to that effect. 
Spaulding was put under arrest, and there was enquiry and all that, 
but at the last he was given a caution and sent back to his regiment. 
But he kind of pined away and took to mooning, and in the next 
battle he was killed — and killed, that was the funny thing, by a 
pistol shot from a man on a grey horse with a bloody handkerchief 
tied round Ms head! He shot Spaulding through the brain." 

The sun pushed a red rim above the eastern horizon. The day's 
work began. Fighting — and fighting — and fighting again on Ken- 
nesaw and over the rolling coxmtry from which Kennesaw arose! 
On the twentieth, Wheeler with a thousand horsemen crashed 
against and drove a force of blue cavalry. On the twenty-second, 
on the Powder Spring road, Hood struck Schofield and Hooker. The 
divisions of Hindman and Stevenson were engaged here, advancing 
with heroism under a plunging fire, musketry and artillery, and 
driving the blue from their first to their second line of entrench- 
ments. The' ground was fearfully difficult. The blue had every- 
where epaulements from which they brought to bear upon the 
charging grey a terrible raking fire of grape and canister. Steven- 
son's men fell thick and fast; when night laid her stilling hand upon 
the guns, he had lost in killed and wounded eight hundred and 
seventy men. On the twenty-foiu-th, the blue came in line of battle 
against Hardee, and were repulsed. On the twenty-fifth, they again 
struck Stevenson, and were repulsed. All day the twenty-sixth 
there was bitter skirmishing. On the twenty-seventh, upstormed 
the battie of Kennesaw Mountain. 

It began in the early morning with all of Sherman's guns. They 
shelled the crest and sides of Kennesaw; roaring, they poured fierce 
death into the air, hoping that he would find many victims. He 
found many, though not so many as the blue hoped. The atmosphere 
rocked and grew smoky; it was a fierce, prolonged cannonade. Dur- 
ing the furious overture, behind the tall, fretted screen of smoke, 
the blues were forming in two lines of battle, long and thick. 



334 CEASE FIRING 

The grey position was exceedingly strong. The grey said as much, 
contemning the shells that shrieked and dropped. 

"We're pretty well fixed! W. T. Sherman '11 find there ain't no 
buried treasure on Kennesaw! General Joe's going to win out on 
this campaign." 

"We're going to have a battle here. But I don't think it's going 
to be the big battle. I think the big battle's going to be at Atlanta." 

"Maybe so. Anyhow he'll win out, and that's all I'm caring 
about! — This place's a regular sea-beach for shells." 

There were in the company a father and son — a tall, lean, 
lantern-jawed, silent man of sixty and a tall, lean, lantern-jawed, 
silent man of thirty-five. Except that they messed and foraged 
together they did not seem to have much to say to each other. 
They were near Edward where he stood behind the rifle-pit. 

"I reckon," said the elder, " that the cotton air blooming mighty 
pretty, 'long about now." 

"I reckon it air," said the younger. 

The cannonading did not cease, but now, while all the guns thun- 
dered, the blue pushed forward a thick line of skirmishers. Behind 
them showed, between the trees, wide and long and dark, two bands 
of infantry. The grey batteries that had been sparing ammunition 
now ceased to spare it. They opened full cry. Grey and blue, the 
noise was appalling. 

"I reckon," said the elder tall man, "that the mill wheel air turn- 
ing to-day." 

"I reckon it air," said the younger. 

The blue moved forward to the assault, — Schofield and Mc- 
Pherson and Thomas. They came on boldly and well, cheering, with 
waved banners, now lost amid the trees, now seen as clearly as aught 
could be seen under and in the sulphurous battle-cloud. They were 
striking right and left and centre. On they came — larger — larger 
— Full in their faces sprang the fire of the trenches. 

The attack just here was desperate. The blue swarmed through 
the felled trees, seized an advanced breastwork, swarmed on toward 
the second and stronger line. This line beat them back, burst from 
the trenches, rushed forward and down, retook the captured work, 
struck a flag there upon the parapet, and, hurrying on, fell upon the 
backward-sinking foe. There followed hand-to-hand fighting, with 



KENNESAW 335 

much carnage. The two tall men were in front. A minie ball cut 
the father down. He lay across a hummock of earth from behind 
which two or three grey men were firing. The son fought on above 
the dead body. The face looked at him each time he brought rifle 
to shoulder. The plain gravity of it, Uving, was gone; now it was 
contorted like a gargoyle. A third line of blue came shouting up to 
reinforce the other two; there ran a grey order to fall back to the 
earthworks. The tall, lean man, his musket yet in hand, stooped, 
put his arms under the elder's body, Uf ted it, and with it across his 
shoulder started up the moimtain-sidei An officer ordered him to 
put the body down, but he shook his head. "I could n't do that, sir. 
It's father." Just outside the breastwork an exploding shell killed 
him, too. 

Up and over the slopes of Kennesaw rushed another charge. 
The grey clutched with it, locked and swayed. Down it went, down 
the slopes of Kennesaw. Mountain and surrounding foot coimtry 
were wrapped in smoke. For three hours the clamour held; — with 
onslaught and repulse and heavy loss to the blue. At last, in the hot 
and heavy noon, the North drew sullenly back, beaten on Kenne- 
saw. 

The ^th Virginia moved from the line it had successfully held 

to a point on the southern face it was ordered to entrench and 
hold. Moving so, it passed over groimd where lay many dead and 
injxured. This had been the-rear of the position. Shells had not 
spared it. They had exploded among ammunition wagons and am- 
bulances, setting afire and consuming the hut that had been divis- 
ion headquarters, injuring various noncombatants, working wrack 
and ruin here as among the trenches. The regiment halting for a 
moment, Edward had time to observe the corpse of a drummer-boy, 
lying in the briar and grass beneath a splintered tree. The shell had 
struck it full in the breast, tearing the trunk asunder. Above the 
red ghastliness rose a young face round and freckled. Edward knew 
it for that of the drmnmer-boy who wanted the war never to stop. 

Two men in the rank nearest him were talking of money. "You 
have paper money and you have war, and in war you always over- 
issue. We did it in the old Revolution — and there were the French 
assignats — and Great Britain did the same thing when she was 
fighting Napoleon. You over-issue and over-issue and the whole 



2^6 CEASE FIRING 

thing depreciates. Sometimes it's slow and sometimes it's hand 
over hand. And then you can't redeem, and the whole bottom 
drops out — " 

The regiment moved forward. The woods on Kennesaw were 
afire. 

That night, from the house near Smyrna Church, Desiree watched 
the line of flame. She stood with three women in a cotton-field and 
watched. One of the women was old, and her sons were there where 
the flame was. She rocked herself to and fro, and she beat her hands 
together and she cursed war. One of the women had a babe in her 
arms. It wailed, and she opened her dress, and put her breast to its 
mouth. The wind loosened her hair. It blew about her, framing her 
brooding young face. Simple and straight she stood amid the cotton, 
giving life more life, while her dark eyes were filled with the image 
of death. The wind blew the smoke over the cotton-fields; to the 
women's ears it brought alike the groaning. 

Two days later, Sherman in Georgia, like Grant in Virginia, re- 
sorted again to a turning movement. South and east he pushed Ms 
right, until it threatened to crook between Johnston and Atlanta. 
Johnston lifted the Army of Tennessee from Kennesaw and set it 
down at Smyrna Church. In its rear now was the Chattahoochee, 
its bridges covered by the Georgia militia. A very few miles behind 
the Chattahoochee was Atlanta, fairly fortified. Smyrna Church 
and Station saw heavy, continued skirmishing. On the fourth, Sher- 
man pushed Schofield and McPherson yet farther south, curving like 
a scimitar upon the Smyrna position. His advance thrust the Georgia 
militia back to Nickajack Ridge, baring the approach to the river. 
That night Johnston moved from Smyrna and took up position on 
the north bank of Chattahoochee. Here were works prepared in ad- 
vance, and here for several days the hours were filled with skirmish- 
ing. Sherman had brought up, hot foot, the remainder of the blue 
army from Kennesaw. "We ought," he says, "to have caught 
Johnston on this retreat, but he had prepared the way too well." 

The Chattahoochee was a fordable stream. On the eighth, some 
miles above the grey entrenchments, Sherman crossed over two 
army corps. On the ninth, the Army of Tennessee crossed the Chat- 
tahoochee, and took up position behind Peach Tree Creek, a bold 



KENNESAW 337 

affluent of that river. The ground was rough, seamed with ravines. 
It was high and convex to the foe. Behind it was a fortified town, fit 
base for a culminating battle. "About the middle of June," says 
Joseph E. Johnston, "Captain Grant, of the Engineers, was in- 
structed to strengthen the fortifications of Atlanta materially, on 
the side toward Peach Tree Creek, by the addition of redoubts and 
by converting barbette into embrasure batteries.^ T also obtained 
promise of seven seacoast rifles from General D. H. Maury, to be 
mounted on that front. Colonel Presstman was instructed to join 
Captain Grant with his subordinates, in this work of strengthen- 
ing the defences of Atlanta, especially between the Augusta and 
Marietta roads, as the enemy was approaching on that side. For 
the same reason a position on the high ground looking down into 
the vaUey of Peach Tree Creek was selected for the army, from 
which it might engage the enemy if he should expose himself in the 
passage of the stream. The position of each division was marked 
and pointed out to its staff officers." "And," says the Federal 
General Howard, "Johnston had planned to attack Sherman at 
Peach Tree Creek, expecting just such a division between our wings 
as we made." 

For a week Sherman made feints and demonstrations. The end 
of that time found the two armies actually confronted. Behind the 
two there had fallen into the abyss of time seventy days of hard and 
skilful fencing. Each had felt the rapier point, but no vital spot 
had been reached. Each had lost blood; thousands lay quiet forever 
in the dark woods and by the creeks of that hundred and twenty 
mUes. Each had been at odd times reinforced; the accession in 
strength had covered the loss. On the last day of Jvme the Fed- 
eral "effective strength for offensive purposes" is given as one 
hundred and six thousand, nine hundred and seventy men. On 
the same day Johnston's effective strength is given as fifty- 
four thousand and eighty-five men. General Sherman states that 
throughout the campaign he knew his numbers to be double those 
of Johnston. He could afford to lose two to one without disturbing 
the relative strength of the armies. 

On the evening of the seventeenth of July there was deUvered 
to the commander of the Army of Tennessee a telegram from 
Richmond. It read, — 



^33 8 CEASE FIRING 

"Lieutenant-General J. B. Hood has been commissioned to the 
temporary rank of general imder the late law of Congress. I am di- 
rected by the Secretary of War to inform you that, as you have failed 
to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta, and 
express no confidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are 
hereby relieved from the command of the Army and Department of 
Tennessee, which you will immediately turn over to General Hood. 
"S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General." 

Hardee, coming presently to headquarters, was shown the tele- 
gram. Johnston sat writing. Several of his staff were in waiting, 
one with pale face and set lips, another with eyes that winked back 
the tears. 

Hardee read. "I don't believe it," he said. 

"A thing may be both unbelievable and a fact," said Johnston, 
writing. "Well, I've got my wound. It's pretty deep — so deep that 
I scarcely feel it." 

He rose from the table and going to the window stood looking out 
at Antares, red in the heavens. "I have sent out the orders trans- 
ferring the command," he said. "It's a strange world, Hardee." 

"Sometimes I think it's a half-crazy one, sir," said Hardee, with 
a shaking voice. "I know what the army's going to think about 
it—" 

"I wish as little said as possible,^' said Johnston. "It is the only 
way to take — wounds." 

He came back to the table, sat down, and began to write. "There 
are certain memoranda of 'plans — " Through the window came a 
sound of horses stopping at the door, followed by a noise of steps in 
the hall. "Here is General Hood," said Johnston, and rose. 

One of his colonels, in his official report, speaks as follows: "On 
the seventeenth of July the commanding general published an 
address to the army and announced that he would attack General 
Sherman's army so soon as it should cross the Chattahoochee. It 
was understood that the enemy was crossing at Roswell Factory 
beyond the right flank of the army and east of Peach Tree Creek. 
. . . The order of battle was received with enthusiasm and the most 
confident spirit prevailed. Next day, the eighteenth, while we were 
forming to march from our bivouac to the right, a rumour prevailed 



KENNESAW 339 

that General Johnston had been removed from command, and after 
we had marched some distance on the road to Atlanta a courier 
handed me a circular order from General Hood, announcing General 
Johnston's removal and assuming conamand. Shortly after, the 
farewell address of General Johnston was received and read to the 
regiment. It is due to truth to say that the reception of these orders 
produced the most despondent feeling in my command. The loss of 
the commanding general was felt to be irreparable. Continuing the 
march and passing by his headquarters. Walker's division passed 
at the shoulder, the officers saluting, and most of the latter and hun- 
dreds of the men taking off their hats. It had been proposed to halt 
and cheer, but General Johnston, hearing our intention, requested 
that the troops pass by in silence." 

"The news," said Fighting Joe Hooker, — "the news that Gen- 
eral Johnston had been removed from the command of the army 
opposed to us was received by our officers with universal rejoicing." 

"Heretofore," said Sherman, "the fighting has been as Johnston 
pleased, but now it shall be as I please." 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THUNDER RUN 

YES, Mr. Cole," said Christianna, in her soft, drawling voice; 
"it's just like you say. Life's dead." 
Sairy, sitting in the toll-house door, threaded her needle. 
"You an' Tom, Christianna, air awful young yet! Life ain't dead. 
She's sick, I'll allow, but, my land! she's stood a power of sick- 
nesses!" 

"It seems right dead to me," said Christianna. 

She leaned her head against the pillar of the toll-house porch, 
her sunbonnet fallen back from her fair hair. The wild-rose colour 
still clung, but her face had a wistftilness. The little ragged garden was 
gay with bloom, but it was apparent that there had been no garden- 
ing for a very long time. The yellow cat slept beneath the white 
phlox. Thimder Run Mountain hung in sunshine, and Thunder 
Rim's voice made a steady murmur in the air. Tom, with his tremb- 
ling old hands, folded a newspaper and put it beneath the empty 
toll-box. He knew every word of it; there was no use in going over 
it any more. 

"They don't go into details enough," said Tom; "I want to know 
how the boys look, and what they're saying." 

"New Market! " said Sairy. "All them children. I can't get New 
Market out of my head." 

"I've been down to Three Oaks for a day," spoke Christianna. 
"Mrs. Cleave would n't talk about New Market, but it seemed like 
Miss Miriam could n't keep away from it. Lexington — an' the ca- 
dets marchin' at dawn — marchin' with their white flag with Wash- 
ington on it — marchin' so trim down the Valley Pike — " 

"Fawns fighting for the herd," said Tom. 

"An' General Breckinridge welcomin' them — an' some troops 
that wanted to make fun singin', ' Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree-top' — 
an' Sunday mornin' comin', an' the battle — " 

"And that was a hard field," said Tom, "to plough on a Simday 
morning." 



THUNDER RUN 341 

"Mrs. Cleave said that once before there was a Children's Cru- 
sade an' that no good came of it. She said that when the old began 
to kill the young Nature herself must be turning dizzy. An' Miss 
Miriam read every paper an' then lay there, lookin' with her big, 
burnin' eyes." 

Sairy rose, went into the kitchen, and returned with a pan of 
apples which she began to pare. The sun was over the shoulder of 
Thunder Run Mountain and in its heat and light the flowers in the 
garden smelled strongly, the moimtain-head lay in a shimmering 
haze, and a pool of gold touched Christianna's shoe. It was late in 
May, the WUdemess and Spottsylvania over — Cold Harbour not 
yet — in Georgia the armies Ijmig about New Hope Church. 

"Mother came up the mountain yesterday," said Christianna. 

"I hope she's weU?" 

"Yes, ma'am, she's real well. Mother's awful strong. It's one 
of the hospital's half -empty times, so she's come home for a week. 
She 's cuttin' wood this mahnin'. It 's mighty good to have her home 
— she's so cheerful." 

"That's where she shows her strong naind." 

"Yes, ma'am. She says that when summer comes you don't have 
smallpox, and when winter comes, typhoid eases off. Mrs. Cleave 
says the soldiers all like mother." 

"Allan," remarked Sairy, — "Allan always said Mrs. Maydew 
was an extraordinary woman. Talkin' of Allan — " > 

A lean, red-brown hand came over the gate to the latch. The yel- 
low cat rose, stretched himself, and left the path. The hand opened 
the gate and Steve Dagg, entering, limped the thirty feet between 
gate and porch. 

" Momin', folks! " he said, with an ingratiatory grin. 

"Momin'." 

Steve sat down upon the step, carefully handling, as he did so, 
the treasure of his foot. " It 's awful hard to be lamed for Uf e ! But if 
you 're lamed in a good cause, I reckon that 's all you ought to ask ! " 

Sairy eyed him with disfavour. "Land sake, Steve, the war ain't 
goin' to last that long!" 

"We were talking about New Market," said Tom. "Since Mon- 
day there ain't any news come from Richmond way." 

"That's so," said Steve, "but I reckon we're fightin' hard some- 



342 CEASE FIRING 

where 'bout the Chickahominy. Gawd knows we fought there in '62 
like lions of the field! Did I ever tell you about Savage Station, 'n' 
a mountain o' dirt 'n' stuff the Yanks had prevaricated the railroad 
with — 'n' how we cleared it away — me 'n' an artilleryman of 
Kemper's 'n' some others — so that what we called the railroad gun 
could pass — " 

"Yes, you've told it," said Tom, "but tell it again." 

" 'N' the railroad gun — that was a siege-piece on a flatcar, Miss 
Christianna — come a-hawkin' 'n' a-steamin' up 'n' I 'n' the others 
piled on. Gawd! it was sunset 'n' the woods like black coal ag'in' 
it . . . 'n' we came on the railroad bridge 'n' the Yanks began to 
shell us." Steve shivered. "Them shells played on that gun like the 
rain on Old Gray Rock up there; 'n' jest like Old Gray Rock we 
looked at 'em 'n' said, 'Play away ! ' — 'n' we rimibled 'n' roared off 
the bridge, 'n' got into position on top of an embankment, 'n' three 
batteries begun to shell us, 'n' we shelled back; 'n' those of us who 
were n't at the guns, we took off our hats 'n' waved 'n' hurrahed — " 

"If there ain't any top to truth," said Sairy, sotto voce, "neither 
air there any bottom to lyin'." 

"'N' I reckon we saved the day for General Magruder! The ar- 
tilleryman was a cowardly kind of fellow, 'n' he left us pretty soon, 
but the rest of us — Gawd! we 'n' that railroad gun did the business! 
Naw," said Steve mournfully, "they may think they're fightin' 
hard down 'roun' Richmond, but it ain't like it used to be ! We ain't 
never goin' to see fightin' ag'in like what we fought in '62. The best 
men in this here war air dead or disabled. — Of course, of course, 
Mrs. Cole, thar air exceptions!" 

"A man from Lynchburg passed this way yesterday," said Sairy. 
"He was tellin' us that Crook and Averell air certainly goin' to join 
Hunter at Staunton an' that Lynchburg's right uneasy. He said 
there was a feelin' in the air that this end of the Valley was n't going 
to be spared much longer. He said that General Smith at Lexington 
told him that the storm was comin' this way, and in that case Thun- 
der Run might hear some thunder that was n't of the Lord's manu- 
facturing! Of course, if we do," said Sairy, "we'll have the benefit 
of your experience an' advice an' aid." 

Christianna spoke in her drawling voice. "Mother says there's 
talk of maybe havin' to move the hospital. She says they all say 



THUNDER RUN 343 

Hunter's one of the worst. He's one of the burnin' kind, an' he's 
got a lot of men who can't imderstand what you say to 'em — Ger- 
mans." 

"I think we ought to be organizing a Home Guard," said Tom. 
"There's your grandpap, Christianna, and the doctor and Charley 
Key and the boy at the sawmill — " 

"An' Steve," said Sairy. 

Steve squirmed upon the step. "I've seen a lot of Home Guards," 
he said gloomily, " 'n' they don't do a danged bit of good! They're 
jest ridden over! Gawd! Thunder Run ain't got a reception of what 
war is! General Lee oughtter send a corps — " 

"Maybe he will," said Tom hopefully. "Maybe he'll send the 
Second Corps!" 

" The Second Corps ! " Steve grew pale. " He can't send the Second 
Corps — it was all cut to pieces at Spottsylvania Court-House — 
Johnson's division was, anyhow! The Second Corps ain't — ain't 
the fightin' corps oncet it was. He'd better send the First or the 
Third. . . . Ouch! Do you mind ef I just loosen my shoe for a bit, 
Mrs. Cole ? My foot's awful bad this momin'." 

"You'd better telegraph him about the corps," said Sairy, "right 
away. Otherwise he might think 't was good enough for us — Valley 
men an' all, an' some of them even livin' on Thunder Run. I could 
ha' guessed without bein' told that your foot was bad this momin'." 

Steve blinked. "I don't want you to think, Mrs. Cole, that Steve 
Dagg would n't be glad to see the division 'n' the brigade 'n' the 
Sixty-fifth — what's left of them. I'd be glad enough to cry. It's 
funny how fond soldiers get of each other — marchin' 'n' sufferin' 
'n' fightin' together 'n' helpin' each other out of Devil's Holes 'n' 
Bloody Angles 'n' Lanes 'n' such. No, 'm, 't is n't that. I'd be jest 
as glad to see the boys as I could be. I was jest a-thinkin' of the good 
of us all, 'n' them Marse Robert could spare 'n' them he could n't." 
He rose, holding by the sapling that made the porch pillar. "I 
reckon I'll be creepin' along. Old Mirny at the sawmill's makin' 
me a yarb liniment." 

He went. Tom took for the twentieth time the newspaper from 
beneath the toll-box. Christianna sat absently regarding the great, 
sun-washed panorama commanded by Thunder Run Mountain. 
The yellow cat came back to the path. 



344 CEASE FIRING 

Sairy sighed. "It was always a puzzle to me what the next world 
does with some of the critturs it gets! " 

"It don 't seem noways anxious to get Steve," said Tom, and 
began to read again about Spottsylvania. 

An hour later Christianna in her blue sunbonnet went up the moun- 
tain road toward the Maydew cabin. Rhododendron was in bloom; 
pine and hickory and walnut and birch made a massive shadow 
through whose rifts the sun cast bright sequins. Thunder Rim, near 
at hand now, was uttering watery violences. The road, narrow 
and bad for wheels, was pleasant imder the foot of a Ught walker, 
untrammelled, elastic, moving with delicate vigour. Christianna 
loosened her sunbonnet, and the siunmer wind breathed upon her 
forehead and ruffled her hair. She was dreaming of city streets and 
houses, of Richmond, and the going to and fro of the people there. 
Old Grey Rock rose before her to the right of the road. As she came 
abreast ft, Steve Dagg rose from behind one of its ferny ledges. 

He grinned at her violent start. "Laid an avalanche for you, 
did n't I? You ain't really frightened? Did you think it was a bear?" 

"No! I thought it was a snake an' a cat-o-mount an' a — a 
monkey!" said Christianna, with spirit. "Friendly an' poUte people 
don't do things like that!" 

Steve's whine came into his voice. " Why don't you like me, Miss 
Christianna ? I don't see why — " 

"If you don't see that, you won't never see anything!" said 
Christianna. "An' I'd like to walk home in peace an' quietness, Mr. 
Dagg!" 

Steve kept beside her. " I got a good cabin — thar ain't any better 
on the mountain! I got" — his voice sank — "I got a little money, 
too, 'n' it ain't Confederate money that's worth jest about as much 
as sojtnany jimson leaves! It 's gold. I've got it hid." He glanced 
about him. "I didn't mean to tell that. You won't mention it, 
Miss Christianna ? " 

"No," said Christianna; "it ain't worth mentionin'." 

Steve touched her sleeve with persuasive fingers. "I never loved 
a lady like I love you. Gawd! we'd be jest as happy — " 

Christianna walked faster. Ahead, in the light and shadow, a wild 
turkey crossed the road. Pine and hemlock showed dark and thick 
against the intense mid-day sky. Thunder Run, now much below 



THUNDER RUN 345 

the road, spoke with a lessened voice. Butterflies fluttered above 
wild honeysuckle in bloom, and high in the blue a hawk was sailing. 
Steve, keeping beside her, tried to put his arm around her waist. 
She broke from him and ran up the road. Long-legged and Ught of 
weight he ran after her, caught up with her, and began afresh to 
press his suit. 

"Why don't you like me, Miss Christianna ? Lots of women in 
the Valley 'n' down about Richmond have! There was one up near 
Winchester that was so fond of me I could n't hardly git away. — 
There ain't no reason that I kin see — I 'd be jest as good to you as 
any man on this mountain. Most of the men have died off it, any- 
way, 'n' I'm here! Why don't you try to like me? Ain't Daggs 
as good as Maydews? 'N' as for Allan Gold, if you're thinkin' of 
him—" » 

Christianna turned. "From now right on I'm goin' to bear wit- 
ness that there is n't a crittur on Thimder Run that uses its feet 
any better or faster than Steve Dagg can! You can walk an' you 
can run, an' when the army comes this-a-way I'm goin' to bear 
witness that you can march! I'm goin' to stand up just the same as 
in an experience meetin' an' bear witness ! An' if the army takes you 
away with it — " 

Steve gasped. "It can't! I got a doctor's certificate. — It ain't 
any way from Grey Rock, 'n' love made me run. It was jest a 
moment 'n' I '11 pay for it to-morrow. I could n't march on that foot 
if Glory itself was there, hollerin' me on! — Who'd believe you, 
either ? A woman's word ain't countin' much. Besides," — he 
grinned, confidence returning, — "besides, you wouldn't tell the 
regiment I'd run after you 'n' — 'n' kissed you — " His arm darted 
around her again. Christianna smote him on the cheek, broke away, 
and fled up the mountain. 

Around a turn of the road appeared, pacing stately, Mrs. May- 
dew. She was tall and strong, and she carried an axe in the hollow 
of her arm. 

Christianna stopped short with a sound between a sob and a 
laugh. She looked back. "Are n't you comin' on to the cabin, Mr. 
Dagg?" 

"Naw," said Steve, "not to-day," and, turning, went, elaborately 
limping, down the mountain. 



346 CEASE FIRING 

Some days later, being at the unworked sawmill at the foot of the 
mountain, he heard news. Crook and Averell had made a junction 
with Himter at Statmton. Himter had now an army of eighteen 
thousand men. Hunter was marching up the Valley, burning and 
destroying as he came. Himter certainly meant to strike Lexington. 
Hunter — 

"Reckon we'd better rest right quiet here, don't you?" asked 
Steve. "Even if they came into the county, they wouldn't be 
likely to take a road this-a-way ? " 

"I would n't put it beyond them," said the sawmill man darkly. 
"There's a lot of valuable property on this mountain." 

Steve grew profoimdly restless. Each day now for a long time 
there was news. Breckinridge was at Rockfish Gap barring with a 
handful of troops Hunter's direct road to Lynchburg. Hunter there- 
upon came on up the Valley with the intent to cross the Blue Ridge 
and pounce on Lynchburg from the west. He was a destroyer was 
Hunter and a well-hated one. The coimtry was fiUed with sparks 
from his torches and with an indignant cry against bis mode of war- 
fare. Breckinridge marched to Lynchburg, but he detached Mc- 
Causland with orders to do the best he could to harry and retard the 
blue advancing host. Down upon the Chickahominy, Lee was about 
to send Early, but days of fighting and burning must elapse before 
Early could reach Lynchburg. On the twelfth of June Hunter came 
to Lexington. 



CHAPTER XXXII 
hunter's raid 

VIRGINIA Military Institute cadets were younger than they 
used to be. To suit the times the age of admittance had 
been dropped. Even so, steadily from the beginning there 
was a road of travel from the V. M. I. to the battle-fields. Out upon 
it went many a cadet in his trig white and grey, never to return. 
In May, 1864, the entire two hundred and fifty had travelled 
it, travelled down the Valley to New Market to help Breckinridge 
fight and win that battle. In dead and wounded, V. M. I. lost sixty 
boys. Now after a time of wild and blissful excitement the lessened 
corps was back in Lexington, back at the V. M. I., back to the old 
barracks, the old parade ground, the old studying. To the cadets it 
seemed hard lines. 

Htmter and his eighteen thousand came up the pike from Staim- 
ton, thirty-five miles away. McCausland and a cavalry brigade, 
drawn across his front at Midway, did all that could be done in the 
way of skirmishes for delay. Breckinridge was guarding Lynch- 
burg, an important centre of commimications, a place of military 
stores and hospitals, and filled with refugees. Early and the Second 
Corps were yet in Tidewater Virginia. There was no help anywhere. 
V. M. I. received orders to withdraw from Lexington. 

McCausland had the bridge across North River lined with hay, 
saturated with turpentine. An alley through was left for his men 
when, at the last, they must fall back before the blue advance. The 
night of the eleventh passed, the people of Lexington sleeping little, 
the cadets under arms all night. Dawn came up in rose and silver. 
House Mountain had a roof of mist; all the lovely Rockbridge coun- 
try was as fresh and sweet as any Eden. Out the Staunton road 
came a burst of firing; then with a clattering of hoofs, with shouts, 
with turning in saddles and empt3dng of pistols and carbines, Mc- 
Causland and his troopers appeared, pressed back upon the bridge. 
They crossed, horsemen and a section of artillery, then struck a 



348 CEASE FIRING 

tx)rch into the turpentine-soaked hay. Up roared a pillar of flame, 
reddening the water. With a great burst of noise Hunter's van- 
guard appeared. They galloped up and down the north bank of the 
river shouting and firing. McCausland answered from the hills 
across. The bridge burned with a roaring noise and a great cloud of 
smoke. A Federal battery coming up got into position on a great 
rise of ground commanding the town, and from it began to shell the 
most apparent mass of buildings. This was the Virginia MiUtary 
Institute. 

The grey and white cadets were drawn up on the parade ground. 
They stood there with their colours, with their tense yoimg faces. 
The first shell struck the hall of the Society of Cadets, struck and 
exploded, working ruin. After this there began a bombardment of 
the comer towers, and a heavy rain upon the parade ground. 

"Attention! Rightfacel Forward! March!" 

Drum and fife played "Dixie.'' Away from the old V. M. I., 
coming down in ruin about them, marched the cadets. They 
marched to a fierce bright music, but their faces were flushed and 
quivering. It needed all their boy pride to keep the tears away. 
Lexington, anxious-hearted, saw them go. Behind them the bat- 
teries were thundering, and Hunter's thousands were gathering Hke 
locusts. Colonel Shipp and the cadets took the Balcony Falls road 
— Balcony Falls first and then Lynchburg, and active service some- 
where if not at Lexington. . . . 

They came to a high hill, several miles southof the town. "Halt!" 
and the two hundred and fifty halted, and resting on their pieces 
looked back. The Virginia MiHtary Institute was on fire. Tower 
and turret, arsenal, mess hall, barracks, houses of the professors, all 
were burning down. 

Hunter made no long tarrying in Lexington. He waited but to 
burn the house of the Governor of Virginia and swept on toward the 
pass in the Blue Ridge he had in mind. His line of march brought 
him and his thousands into a country as yet uncharred by war. 

At Three Oaks there was a wounded soldier — a kinsman of 
Margaret Cleave's, wounded in a skirmish in southwest Virginia 
and brought in an ambulance by his servant back to his native 
county. Here he found his own home closed; his mother gone to 



HUNTER'S RAID 349 

Richmond to nurse another son, his sister in Lynchbtirg with her 
husband. The ambulance took him on to Three Oaks, and here he 
had been for some days. Exposure and travel had not been good 
for him, and though his wound was healing, he lay in a low fever. 
He lay in Richard's room, nursed by Margaret and an old, wrinkled, 
coloured woman. 

TuUius was at Three Oaks. Cleave had sent him back, months 
before, to be a stay to the place. Now Margaret, coming through 
the hall, found him on the back porch, standing on the step between 
the pillars like a grave old Rameses. It was a hot June day, with 
clouds that promised a storm. 

"What is it, TuUius ?" jisked Margaret. She took an old cane- 
seat chair ajid faced him. There were threads of grey in her hair. 
The old man noticed them this morning. 

"Miss Miriam ain' nowhere 'roim', is she?" 

"No. She is out with her book under the oaks. What is it?" 

"They've flowed over Buchanan, Miss Margaret. I done took 
the horse an' went down as far as Mount Joy. I met a man an' he 
say they tried to cross by the bridge, but General McCausland 
done bum the bridge. Hit did n't stop 'em. They marched up the 
river to the ford an' crossed, an' come holleiin' an' firin' down on 
the town. An' a house by the mouth of the bridge caught an' a heap 
of houses were bmmn', he say, when he left. An' he say that some 
of the Yankees were those foreigners that can't imderstand a word 
you say, an' a lot of them were drunk. I saw the smoke an' fire 
an' heard the shoutin'. An' then I come right home." 

"Do you think that they will march this way ? " 

"There ain't any tellin', Miss Margaret. They've got bands out, 
'flictin' the country." 

Margaret rested her forehead upon her hands. "Captain Yeard- 
ley — it wiU put his life in danger to move him . . . and then, 
move him where ? Where, Tullius, where ?" 

"Miss Margaret, I don' know. Less 'n 't was somewhere in the 
woods or up on the moimtain-side." 

Margaret rose. "Get the wagon, then. We'll make a bed for 
him, and do all we can, and then pray to God. . . . You'd better 
go by the old Thxmder Run road and turn off up one of the 
ravines." 



350 CEASE FIRING 

"Miss Margaret, Jim's got a good head, an' he kin tek the Cap- 
tain away an' tek care of him. I'se gwine stay at Three Oaks. I'se 
gwine stay with you an' Miss Miriam." 

Miriam's startled voice came through the hall from the front 
porch. "Mother! mother, come here! Here's a boy who says the 
Yankees are burning Mount Joy!" 

She did not wait for her mother, but came down the hall, at her 
heels a white-lipped, wild-eyed youngster of twelve. News came 
from him in gulps, Kke water from a bottle. He had been taking his 
father's horse to be shod, and down near Mount Joy he had seen the 
Yankees coming up the road in time to get out of their way. He 
had gone through a gate into an orchard and had got down and hid- 
den with the horse below a bank with elder growing over it. From 
there he had seen how the Yankees came through the big gate and 
over the garden and to the house. . . . After a while, when it was 
all on fire and there was a lot of noise and he could n't see much for 
the smoke, a little coloured girl had come creeping through the 
orchard grass. She told him the Yankees said they were going to 
burn every house in the country they could get at. And she said he 
had a horse, and why did n't he go and tell people, so's they could 
get their things out — and he thought he'd better, and so he had 
been telling them — 

How long since he had left the orchard ? 

He did n't know — he thought about three hours. 

Mahalah came running in. "O my Lawd, Miss Margaret! my 
Lawd, de Yankees comin' up de big road lak er swarm o' bees! O 
my Lawd, dey kills an' eats you!" 

"Nonsense, Mahalah! Be quiet! Tullius, go upstairs to the east 
room window and see how near they are." 

Tullius returned. "They've got a mile an' a half }dt. Miss Mar- 
garet, an' they ain't marchin' fast. Just kind o' stroUin'." 

"How many?" 

"Hundred or two." 

" Get the wagon as quickly as you can. If Jim can get down the 
farm road to the woods without their seeing him, the rest may be 
done. Tell Jim to hurry. Then you and he come and lift Captain 
Yeardley." 

She turned and went upstairs toward Richard's room. Going, 



HUNTER'S RAID 35 1 

she spoke over her shoulder to her daughter. "Miriam, get every- 
body together and make them take it quietly. Tell them no one's 
going to harm them!" 

"Everybody" was not hard to get together. Counting out Tul- 
lius and Jim, there were only Aunt Ailsey and Mahalah, old Peggy, 
Martha and young Martha, William and Mat and Rose's Husband. 
They were already out of cabin and kitchen and in from the 
home fields. Miriam gathered them on the side porch. They aU 
adored her and she handled them with genius. Her thin cheeks had 
in each a splash of carmine, her eyes were unearthly large, dark and 
liquid. All that she said to them was that it was good manners to 
do so and so — or not to do so and so — in a contingency like the 
present. Ladies and gentlemen keep very quiet and dignified — 
and we are ladies and gentlemen — and that is all there is about it. 
"And here is the wagon, and now we '11 see Captain Yeardley off, and 
wish him a good journey, and then we'll forget that he has ever been 
here. That's manners that every one of us must show!" 

Tvillius and Jim brought the wounded officer downstairs on his 
mattress and laid him in the wagon. Old Patsy followed to nurse 
him, and they placed beside him, too, his imifoim and hat and 
sword. He was flushed with fever and light-headed. 

"This is no way to do it!" he insisted. "Inconsiderate brutes to 
take advantage! — Ladies, too! Must stay and protect. — Lovely 
day for a drive! See the country at its best! — New fashion, driv- 
ing lying down! driving in bed! — Time for new fashions, had old 
fashions long enough! — Bring the ladies home something pretty — 
scarf or feather! — saw a man once show the white feather — it 
was n't pretty. — Pretty, pretty — 

'Fretty Polly Watkins —'" 

Jim drove him away, trying to sing. It was not far to where the 
farm road dipped into a heavy woodland. The rumble of the wagon 
died from the air. 

Mother and daughter turned and looked at each other. Margaret 
spoke. "The hair trunk with Will's things in it, and the portraits 
and silver and your great-grandfather's books and letters — we 
might hide them in the hollow behind the ice-house. No one can 
see it for the honeysuckle." 



352 CEASE FIRING 

"Very well. I'll get the books and papers." 

Tullius and Mat carried out the small hair trunk and took down 
the two or three oil portraits and the Saint Memin. Miriam, with 
Peggy to help, laid a sheet on the floor and heaped into it a treasured 
shelf of English poetry, essay, philosophy, and drama, old and mel- 
low of binding, with quaint prints, and all annotated in her great- 
grandfather's clear, firm writing. To them she added a box filled 
with old family. Revolutionary, and Colonial letters. William and 
Rose's Husband took up the bundle, Martha and young Martha 
and Mahalah filled their aprons with the silver. All hurried through 
the flower garden, between the sweet william and canterbury bell 
and hermosa roses, to the mossy-roofed ice-house and a cavity, 
scooped by nature in the bank behind and veiled by a mass of vines. 
Will and Miriam had always used it when they played Swiss Family 
Robinson. Now they leaned the portraits against its damp walls 
and set the hair trunk and the silver and the books and papers on 
the earth that glistened where snails had traversed it. The honey- 
suckle did not hide the place perfectly, but it would take a deliber- 
ate search and sharp eyes to discover it, and beggars must not be 
choosers. The movements of all had been swift; they were back 
through the flower garden to the house in the shortest of times. As 
mother and daughter reentered the hall they heard through the 
open front door a hum of voices and a sound of oncoming feet. 

"We had best meet them here," said Margaret. 

"I am going upstairs to get my amethysts," said Miriam. "I 
am going to put them around my neck, inside my dress." 

Three Oaks was burned. Porch and pillars, doors and windows, 
hall and chambers, walls and chimneys submitted, since they could 
not help it, to a shroud of fire, and crumbled within it. The family 
was allowed to take nothing out. Matters that they prized were 
taken out, indeed, but not by them nor for them. At the eleventh 
hoxu: soldiers, searching the garden, found the httle cavern and its 
contents. The silver was reserved, but the hair trunk, the portraits, 
books and papers were thrown into the flames. 

Margaret Cleave and her daughter and the coloured people 
watched destruction from the knoll beneath the three oaks. It was 
home that was burning — home that had been long lived in, long 
loved. The outdoor kitchen and the cabins also caught — all Three 



HUNTER'S RAID 353 

Oaks was burning down. In the glare moved the band of the foe 
sent out to do the work. The sun had set and the night was at hand 
— at hand with storm. Already the lightnings were playing, the 
thunder pealing. Three soldiers came up to the cluster beneath the 
oaks. They rolled in their gait like sailors. 

"Look here! Rebel women ain't got any need of watches and 
rings! If you've got any on, hand them over!" 

"Miss Margaret," demanded TulUus, "what '11 1 do ?" 

Margaret looked at Him with her beautiful, friendly eyes. "No- 
thing in the world, Tullius. Stay perfectly still!" — She explained 
to the soldiers. "I gave my watch and some rings that I had to the 
Confederacy long ago. My daughter has neither." 

"She's got a chain around her neck this minute. If you don't 
want — " 

"Exactly. Give the gentleman the necklace, Miriam." 

Miriam imclasped and gave it. The three looked at Mahalah's 
hoop earrings, but at that moment an oflScer came up and they per- 
force fell back. "The men are — er — exhilarated, and not well in 
hand," he said. "I would advise you ladies to leave the place." 

They went, Margaret and Miriam leading, Tullius and the others 
pressing behind them. Save for the hghtnings it was dark when 
they passed through the big gate out upon the open road. Behind 
them the three oaks stood up like giant sea fans in an ocean of fire. 
A moment later the storm broke in a wild clamour of wind and rain. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

BACK HOME 

EIGHT thousand strong the Second Corps, Jubal Early at its 
head, left the region of the Chickahominy on the thirteenth 
of June, marched eighty-odd miles in four days, boarded at 
Charlottesville the Orange and Alexandria and so came south to 
Lynchburg. Here, Breckinridge being wounded, D. H. Hill, brought 
to this town on some duty, was found in command. He had earth- 
works and a motley force — Breckinridge's handful, cavalry ready 
to fight dismounted, home guard, hospital convalescents, V. M. I. 
cadets. Noon of seventeenth in came Early with Ramseur's divi- 
sion, Gordon's following. 

Hunter, having burned and harried Rockbridge and a corner of 
Botetourt, crossed the Blue Ridge and swept through Bedford 
toward Lynchburg, Imboden and McCausland skirmishing with 
him at New London, and again and heavily at the Quaker Meeting- 
House. From this point, cavalry fell back to Lynchburg, where 
with Breckinridge's men they held the Forrest road. On came the 
eighteen thousand and found breastworks' across their path, and 
Ramseur and Gordon with artillery. Hunter halted, deployed, 
brought up artillery and thundered for an hour, then, night appear- 
ing in the east, went into camp over against the grey front. The 
next day and the next there was thunder of cannon and cavalry 
skirmishing,|but no battle. Suddenly, on the night of the nineteenth, 
Hunter broke camp, and, facing about, marched away to the west- 
ward. His army doubled in numbers the grey force in his front. Why 
he went so hastily after nothing but a glancing blow or two the grey 
could not tell — though Gordon states, "If I were asked for an 
opinion as to this utterly causeless fright and flight I should be 
tempted to say that conscience was harrowing General Himter, 
and causing him to see an avenger wrapped in every grey jacket 
before him." Be that as it may, Hxmter was gone at midnight, and 
the grey column took up the pursuit at dawn, moving by the Lib- 



BACK HOME 355 

erty turnpike. Behind the Second Corps lay the giant labour, giant 
weariness of Wilderness to Cold Harbour, and on this side of that 
the forced marching from Tidewater, and now, rolling on in a dream 
of weariness, the pursuit after Himter, sixty miles in two days and 
a half. 

It was a weary dream and yet it had its interest, for this was new 
country to the Second Corps, thrown this way for the first time in 
all the war. It knew much of Virginia so exceedingly well — and 
here was a new road and the interests of a new road ! Here and there 
in column it was not new country, it was to soldiers here and 
there land of old time, their part of Virginia. Some had had fur- 
loughs and had come back to it, once or twice or thrice; others had 
missed furloughs, had not seen these mountains and waters for so 
long a time that now they looked at them wistfully as we look with 
closed eyes at the landscapes of childhood. The thickness of a life 
seemed to Ke between them and the countryside; one could not 
reckon all that had happened since they had marched from these 
blue mountains and these sunny fields — marched to end in one 
battle the trouble between North and South! 

Richard Cleave rode at the head of the Golden Brigade. There 
were now no fvdl grey brigades, no complete grey regiments. All 
were worn to a wraith of their former seeming. They took not a 
half, often not a third, of the space of road they once had covered. 
The volume of sound of their marching was diminished, the flags 
were closer together. Had the dead come to life, taken their old 
places, there would have passed on the Liberty pike a very great 
army. But scattered like thistledown from the stem lay the dead 
in a thousand fields. 

The living Sixty-fifth moved with jingle and clank through the 
heat and dust and glare. It had men and officers who were at home 
in this landscape seen through clefts in the dust cloud. What was 
left of the old Company A were all from the rolling hills, the vales 
between, the high blue mountains now rising before the column. 
Thimder Run men pointed out the Peaks of Otter; there ran a low 
talk of the James, of North Mountain and Purgatory, of Mill 
Creek and Back Creek and Craig Creek, of village and farm and 
cabin, smithy and mill. Company A did not feel tired, it was glad 
when the halts were ended, glad to hear the Column forward! 



356 CEASE FIRING 

Matthew Coffin had been home twice since First Manassas; other 
men of the region had been home, Thmider Rim had seen a furlough 
or two, but many of the living of Company A had not returned in 
four years' time. Allan Gold had notl'Ibeen back nor Dave and Billy 
Maydew. 

The column was moving rapidly. Hunter had a few hours' start, 
but this was the " foot cavalry" that was pursuing him. The road 
was rough, the dust blinding, the heat exhausting, but on pressed 
the "foot cavalry." "Hot! Hot! Hot!" said the rapid feet, so many 
of them half -shoeless. "Heat and dust! Heat and dust! There used 
to be springs in this country, — springs to drink and creeks to wade 
in. . . . Then we were boys — long ago — long ago — " 

Mouth furred with dust, throat baked with dust and cracked 
with thirst, much ground to cover in short time, the column for the 
most part kept its lips closed. It went steadily, rhythmically, bent 
on getting its business done, no more forever aught but veterans, 
seasoned, grey, determined. But in the short halts granted it be- 
tween long times it spoke. It lay on the ground beside welcome 
waters and babbled of heaven and earth. That portion of the Sixty- 
fifth whose shores these were spoke as soldiers immemorially speak 
when after years the war road leads past home. The rests were 
short. Fail in I Fall in! — and on after Hunter swung the Second 
Corps. 

In the hot June dusk, in the small town of Liberty, twenty-five 
miles from Lynchburg, they found his rear guard. Ramseur charged 
and drove it through the place and out and on into the night. There 
sprang a sudden shriek of shells, rear guard joining main body, and 
the batteries opening on the grey, heard coming up in the night. 
The grey line halted; grey and blue, alike exhausted with much and 
sore travel, fell upon the warm earth and slept as they had been 
dead, through |the short summer night. Grey was in column as the 
candles of heaven were going out — on before them they heard the 
blue striking the flints on the Liberty and Salem turnpike. 

The sim came up hot and glorious. Full before the column rose 
the Blue Ridge. The men, moving in a huge dust cloud, talked only 
between times. "Hunter's a swift Hunter or he wants to get away 
mighty bad! 'Burner' Himter!" — "I could get right hot of heart 
— - but what 's the use ? " — "I don't bother about the use. You Ve 



BACK HOME 357 

got to have a heart like a hot coal sometimes, with everything blow- 
ing upon it!" — "That's so! Life's right tragic." — Press forward, 
men! — "Peaks of Otter! Boys from hereabouts say there's an 
awful fine view from the top." — "Awful fine view? Should think 
there was ! When you 're up there — if you go alone — you feel Uke 
you're halfway upstairs to God! Don't do to go with anybody — 
they make a fuss and enjoy it." — "We're going straight into the 
mountains." — "Yes, straight into the mountains. Thunder Run 
Mountain's over there." 

The road was now a climbing road. The column moved upon it 
like a gleaming dragon — the head in thick woods lifting toward the 
heights, the rear far back in the rolling green land just north of Lib^ 
erty. The Golden Brigade was near the head. The Sixty-fifth felt 
the world climb beneath its feet. Allan and Billy were thinking of 
Thunder Rim; Matthew ColEn was thinking of the pale blue letter-, 
paper girl. Allan's vision was now the toll-gate and now the school- 
house, and now, and at last persistently, the road up Thunder Run 
Moimtain and Christianna Maydew walking on it. Blended with 
this vision of the road was a vision of the hospital in Richmond after 
Gaines's Mill. He lay again on a blanket on the floor in a corner of 
the ward, thirsty and in pain, with closed eyes, and Christianuci 
came and knelt and gave him water. . . . 

The road climbed steeply. Above ran on to the sky long, wooded, 
pmple slopes. At one point showed a break, a "gap." "That's 
where we 're going! That 'sBuford's Gap!" On and on and up and 
up — Halt t rang outfrom the head of the coliman, and Halt t — Halt I 
— Halt! ran from segment to segment of the mounting length. 

Himter, a week before, had not appeared on Thunder Run Moun- 
tain. No torch came near its scattered "valuable prd^erty." The 
few men left upon the mountain were not pressed or shot or marche4 
away to Yankee prisons. Thunder Run Mountain saw burnijjg 
buildings in the valleys below and heard tales of devastation, even, 
heard wind of a rumour that Hunter's line of march lay across it, iq 
which case it might expect to be burned with fire and sowed with, 
salt. It was this rumour that sent Steve Dagg on a visit to a long^. 
forgotten kinswoman in Bedford. . . . And then the line of jmarch 
had proved to be by the kinswoman's house! 

Steve broke from a band of Federals speaking Germa:^ and somfe. 



3S8 CEASE FIRING 

what blindly pltinged into the woods toward the Peaks. " Gawd! I 
reckon they ain't comin' to the top of Apple Orchard!" 

With occasional descents to a hermit's cabin for food he lay out on 
Apple Orchard until he had seen the last horseman of the Federal 
column disappear, Lynchburg direction. It was warm and pleasant 
on Apple Orchard and the hermit was congenial. Steve stayed on 
to recuperate. And then, with suddenness, here again in the dis- 
tance appeared the head of the Federal column — coming back! 
Steve felt the nightmare redescending. 

The hermit, who was really lame, went to the nearest hamlet and 
returned with news. "We got army at Lynchburg — big army. 
Hunter's beaten stiff and running this way! He'll cross at Buford's 
again, and I reckon then he '11 keep to the woods and go west. You 'd 
better wait right here — " 

" Thank you, I thought I would," said Steve. "A man can have a 
fightin' temper, 'n' yet back o£E from a locomotive — " 

Hunter's thousands disappeared, the last rear guard horseman of 
them. Steve was content. And then of a suddenness, there burst a 
quarrel with the hermit. He had a gun and a dog and Steve found it 
advisable to leave. It came into his head, "The Yanks ain't goin' 
to make any stop this side of Salem, if there! 'n' if the Second Corps 
comes along, it's goin' to hurry through. If it's after Hunter it 
won't have no time to come gallivantin' on Thunder Run! Old 
Jack would ha' rushed it through like greased lightning, 'n' I reckon 
Old Dick or Old Jube, or whatever darn fool 's riskin' his skin 
leadin', '11 rush it through too! — I'll go back to Thunder Run." 

He began to put his intention into execution, moving across miles 
of woodland with a certain caution, since there might just possibly 
be blue stragglers. He found none, however, and came in good 
spirits to a high point from which he could discern distances of the 
Liberty pike running southeast to L)mchburg. Upon it, quite far 
away, was a moving pillar of dust, moving toward him. Steve 
knew what it was well enough. "Second Corps," he grinned. 
" Yaaihl Yaaaihhl Reckon I'll be travelling along!" 

So sure was he that the road before him was clear, and he was in 
such good spirits from the consideration that the "foot cavalry" 
would hurry incontinently after Hunter, that he quite capered along 
the road that ijow climbed toward Buford's Gap. It was afternoon, 



BACK HOME 359 

warm, with a golden light. And then, suddenly, being almost in the 
gap, he observed something which gave him pause. It was nothing 
more or less than trees cut away from a rocky height overhanging 
the gorge through which passed the road, and some metal bores pro- 
jecting from the ledges. Steve's breath came whistlingly. " Gawd! 
Yankee battery!" In a moment he saw another, perched on a fur- 
ther ledge and masked by pine boughs. Steve panted. "Avalanche! 
Another minute 'n' they'd ha' seen me." 

He was already deep in the woods beside the road, his face now 
tiimed quite away from his projected path. Indeed, when he came 
to himself he found that he was moving southward, and due, if he 
kept on, to meet that dust cloud and the Second Corps. His heart 
beating violently, he drew up beneath a hemlock, the vast brown 
trunk and a mile or so of blue air between him and the cannon- 
fringed crags. Here he slid down upon the scented earth and fell to 
thinking, his hand automatically beating to death with a small stick 
a broken-winged moth creeping over the needles. Steve thought at 
first with a countenance of blankness, and then with a strange, 
watery smile. His eyes lengthened and narrowed, his lips widened. 
"I got an idea," he whispered. "Make 'em like me." 

Sitting there he rolled up his trouser leg, removed a rotten shoe 
and ragged sock, then took a knife from his pocket and after a shiver 
of apprehension scraped and abraded an old, small woimd and sore 
until it bled afresh. Out of his pocket he took a roll of dirty band- 
age kept against just such an emergency as this. Having first care- 
fully stained it with blood, he rolled it around foot and shin, pinned 
it with a rusty pin, donned again sock and shoe, stood up and gave 
three minutes to the practice of an alternate limp and shuffle. This 
over he broke and trimmed a young dogwood for a staff , and with it in 
hand he went southward a considerable distance through the woods, 
then crossed to the road. Behind him, a good long way off, showed 
the gap where was planted the " avalanche." Before him came roll- 
ing the road from Liberty. The dust cloud on it was rapidly grQw- 
ing larger. Steve, leaning heavily on his stick, limped to meet it. 

Cavalry ahead took his news, halted and sent back to Jubal Early. 
That commander spmred forward. " 'Avalanche? ' What d' ye mean? 

Gims? Where? Up there? ! All right. Two can play at 

that game — Battery forward/ " 



36o CEASE FIRING 

Steve conceived himself to be neglected. Carefully propped by 
his stick and a roadside boulder he hearkened to orders and marked 
manoevres until he was aweary. He had saved the Second Corps 
and it was n't noticing him ! He grew palely dogged. " They got ter 
notice me. Gawd! I've seen a man thanked in General Orders 'n' 
promoted right up for less'n I've done!" In addition to a sense of 
his dues a fascination kept him where he was. The imwonted feel- 
ing of superiority protected him from fear; no army would too 
closely question its saviour! The rag about his foot, as he assured 
himself every now and then with a glance, was good and bloody. So 
well fixed and with such a vantage-point, [he gave way to a desire 
just to see how the boys looked after so long a time. Vanguard and 
artillery had gone forward; down the road he saw coming at a dou- 
ble an infantry brigade; further back the main body had been halted. 
He gathered from a comment of officers passing that there was a 
conviction that it was only Hunter's rear guard before them in the 
pass. Cavalry scouts spurring back, clattering down dangerous 
paths from adjoining crests, justified the conviction. The Federal 
main body was pressing on upon the Salem road while the rear 
guard gained time. And here the blue rear guard, observing from 
its crags that the ambuscade had been discovered, opened fire. The 
grey guns now in battery on a knoll of hemlocks answered. The 
Blue Ridge echoed the thunders. 

It was near sunset and the brigade coming up was bathed in a 
slant and rich light. With a gasp Steve recognized the horse and 
rider at its head. He raised and bent his arm and hid his face, only 
looking forth with one frightened eye. Cleave and Dundee went by 
without recognizing him, without, as far as he could tell, glancing 
his way. Steve chose again to feel injury. "Gawd, Colonel! if I did 
try to get even with you once, ain't you a general now, 'n' ain't I 
jest saved your life 'n' all your men? — 'n' you go by without lookin' 
at me any more'n if I was dirt! If you'd been a Christian 'n' 
stopped, I could ha' told you you were goin' home to find your 
house burned down 'n' your sister d3dn' ! I jest saved your life 'n' 
you don't know it! I jest saved this army 'n' don't any one know 
it. ... O Gawd! here's the Sixty-fifth!" 

Steve could not stand it. "Howdy, boys!" he said. "Howdy, 
howdy! " The water came into his eyes. He saw through a mist the 



BACK HOME 361 

colours and the slanted bayonets and the ragged hats or no hats and 
the thin, tanned faces. A drop gathered and rolled down his cheek. 
There was a momentary halt of the Sixty-fifth, the last rank 
abreast of the boulder by the road. Forward! and the regiment 
moved on, and Steve marched with it. " Yaas, you did n't know it, 
but I jest saved you boys 'n' the army! I was comin' along the road 

— I got a sore foot — 'n' I looked up 'n' seed the guns — " 

The sun went down and the night came, with the guns yet baying 
at one another, and the well-posted blue yet in possession of the 
rocks above the gorge. But in the middle of the night the blue with- 
drew, hurrying away upon the Salem road. McCausland, pursuing, 
captured prisoners and two pieces of artillery. But the great length 
of Hunter's colmnn, wheeling from Salem toward Lewisburg, plunged 
into the mountains of western Virginia. From the grey admin- 
istration's point of view it was better there than elsewhere. Early, 
imder orders now for the main Valley, rested in Botetomrt for one 
day, then took the pike for Staunton. 

One day! Matthew Coffin spent it with the blue letter-paper 
young lady. Allan Gold and Billy and Dave Maydew covered with 
long strides the road to Thimder Rim. Making all speed up and 
down, they might have the middle of the day for home-at-last. 
Richard Cleave rode to Fincastle and found in a house there his 
mother and sister. Miriam was sinking fast. She knew him, but 
immediately wandered off to talk of books, of Hector and Achilles 
and people in the " Morte d'Arthure." He had but two hours. At 
the end he knelt and kissed his sister's brow, then came out into the 
porch with his mother and held her in a parting embrace. She climg 
to him with passion. " Richard — Richard! — All is turned to iron 
and clay and blood and tears! Love itself is turning to pure pain — " 

Riding back to his troops he went by Three Oaks. There was 
only a great blackened chimney stack, a ragged third of a wall, a 
charred mass behind. He checked Dimdee and stood long in the 
ragged gap where the gate had been and looked, then went on by 
the darkening road to the Golden Brigade. 

Up on Thimder Run, throughout the morning, there was great 
restlessness at the toll-gate. Tom knew they could n't come this way 

— yes, he knew it. Their road lay along other mountains — he 
wished that he had the toll-gate at Buford's. Yes, he knew they 



36a CEASE FIRING 

would n't be likely to stop — he knew that, too. He did n't expect 
to see any one. He could have borrowed the sawmill wagon and 
gone down the mountain and over to the Salem road and seen them 
pass just as well. — No, he was n't too weak. He was n't weak at 
all — only he wanted to see the army and Allan. He had n't ever 
seen the army and now he did n't reckon he would ever see it. Yes, 
he could imagine it — imagine it just as well as any man — but he 
did n't want to imagine it, he wanted to see it ! And now he would n't 
ever see it — never see it and never see Allan. 

"Sho! you will," said Sairy. "You'll certainly see Allan." 

But Tom did not believe it, and he wanted intensely to see the 
army. "I see it when I dream, and I see it often and often when 
I 'm sitting here. I see it marching, marching, and I see it going into 
battle, and I see it bivouacking. But it won't look at me, and though 
sometimes I take the boys' hands there ain't any touch to them, and 
I can see the drums beating, but they don't give any sound — " 

Sairy looked away, out and over the great view below the toll- 
gate. "I know, Tom. Sometimes in the night-time I sit up an' say, 
'That was a bugle blowing.' An' I listen, but I can't hear it then. 
— But the Lord tells us to be content, an' you'd better let him see 
you're tryin' to mind him! What good '11 it do Allan or the army if 
I have to set up with you to-night an' your heart gives out? You'd 
better save yourself so's to see him when he does come home. My 
land! the lot of things he'll have to tell, settin' on the porch an' the 
war over, an' school takin' in again — " 

"Sairy," said Tom wistfully, "sometimes I get an awful fear that 
we ain't going to beat — " 

"Sho!" said Sairy. "If we don't beat one way we will another! 
I ain't a-worryin' about that. Nothing's ever teetotally beaten, not 
even eggs when you make cake. It 's an awful safe universe." 

"It ain't your day," said Tom, "for a clean apron, but you've 
got one on." 

"I ain't never denied that there was a Sunday feel in the air! We 
may n't see the army and we may n't see Allan, but they're only a 
few miles from us." 

"What's that I smell? — It's gingerbread baking!" 

"I had a pint of molasses saved away an' a little sugar. I just 
thought I might as well make gingerbread. If Allan came he'd like 



BACK HOME 363 

it, an' if he did n't we could eat it talkin' of him an' sayin' we were 
keepin' his birthday." 

She went into the kitchen. Tom rested his forehead on the knob 
of his cane. His Kps moved. The wind rustled the leaves of the 
forest, the sun shone. Thimder Run sang, the bees hummed above 
the old blush roses, the yellow cat came up the path and rubbed 
against Tom's ankle. The smell of the gingerbread floated out hot 
and strong, a redbird in a gum tree broke into a clear, high carolUng. 

"O Lord, I'm an old man," whispered Tom. "I ain't got much 
fun or pleasure before me — " 

Sairy, coming back to the doorstep, stood a moment, then struck 
her hands together. "Allan 's coming up the road, Tom!" 

An hour of happiness had gone by. Then said Allan: "I've two 
hours yet and the last part of it I'm going to spend telling about the 
Wilderness and Spottsylvania and Cold Harbour. But now I want 
to go up the mountain and say 'how d' ye do' to the Maydews." 

"Yes, I reckon you'd better," said Tom. "Only don't stay too 
long. They've got Billy and Dave." 

"Bring Christianna down the mountain with you," said Saiiy^ 
"Billy and Dave can tell her good-bye here just as well as there." 

Up on the mountain Mrs. Maydew made a like suggestion. "Al- 
lan, I'd like to talk to you, but I've got to talk to Billy an' Dave. 
Violetta and Rosalinda they 're gettin' somethin' for those boys to eat, 
they look so thin an' starved, an' grandpap an' the dawgs air jest 
sittin' gazin' for pure gladness! — Christianna, you entertain Allan." 

"I've got time," said Allan, "to go look at the school-house. 
That 's what I'd Hke to do." 

The school-house was partly fallen down and the marigolds and 
larkspur that Allan had planted were all one with the tall grass, and 
a storm had broken off a great bough of the walnut tree. Allan and 
Christianna sat on the doorstep, and listened to a singing that was 
not of Thunder Run. 

Allan took her hand. " Christianna, I was the stupidest teacher — " 

That night the Second Corps lay by the James, under the great 
shadow of the Blue Ridge, but at dawn it took the road for Staunton 
and thence for the lower Valley. It went to threaten Washington 
and to clutch with Sheridan, who was presently sent to the Valley 
with orders to lay it waste — orders which he obeyed to the letter. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON 

STEVE had had no intention whatever of rejoining the army. 
And yet here he was, embodied again in the Sixty-fifth, and 
moving, ordinary time, on Staimton! How it had happened 
he could hardly have related. Weariness of life on Thunder Run, 
where of late he had begun to dislike even Christianna Maydew, — 
uncertainty as to whether the Yankees might not return and sweep 
it clean, in which case his skin might be endangered, — a kind of 
craving hunger for company and variety and small adventure, 
coupled with memories of much of the same, — a certain pale home- 
sickness, after all, for the regiment, — a conviction that battles 
were some distance off, probably clear to the other end of the Val- 
ley, and that straggUng before such an event was only a matter of 
watching your opportvuiity, — all this and a ragged underweb of 
emotionalism brought Steve again to follow the driun. It is doubt- 
ful, however, if anything would have done so had he not by purest 
accident encoimtered his sometime colonel. 

Cleave, riding along the forming brigade in the first light, reached 
the Sixty-fifth. The regiment cheered him. He lifted his hat and 
came on down the line, an aide behind him. Steve, on the rim of a 
camp-fire built by recruits of this year who knew not the Sixty- 
fifth of the past, tried to duck, but his general saw him. He spoke 
to the aide. "Tell that man to come here." 

Steve limped forward with scared eyes, a cold dew upon hands 
and forehead. And after all, all that the general said was, "You are 
nettle and dock and burr by nature and anger has no meaning in 
dealing with you! Are you coming again with the Sixty-fifth ?" 

"Gawd, General! not if you think I'd better not, sir, — " 

"I?" said Cleave, "I will speak to your colonel about you. For 
the rest you can fire a musket." He smiled grimly. " Still that sore 
foot ? Has it been sore all this time ?" 

"General, it's been sorer! — 'n' if you'd tell the men that they 



THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON 365 

shan't act some of them so cold 'n' some of them so hot toward me? — 
^n' I saved the Ufe of them all only day before yesterday," Steve 
whimpered, " 'n' youis, too. General." 

"Thank you," said Cleave with gravity. "Fall in, now — and 
remember that your Captain's eye will be on you." 

Fall in 1 — Fall in I — Fall in! . . . Column forward ! 

Down the Valley Pike marched the Second Corps. Lejdngton — 
Staunton — Harrisonburg — on and on upon the old, famihar road. 
"Howdy, Valley Pike," said the Second Corps. "Howdy, Old 
Lady! Missed us, haven't you? We've missed you. We've 
thought of you — thought of you in all kinds of tight places! — 

"'Should auld acquaintance be forgot 
And days of auld lang syne — ' " 

"Don't seem to us you're looking well — ragged and lonely and 
burned up and hewed down — cheer up! 

" 'We'll take a cup of kindness yet — '" 

Miles and miles and miles of old-time heat and dust and thirst ! 
Tramp, tramp ! — Tramp, tramp 1 Miles and miles. " There never 
were enough springs and streams on this road and old Miss War's 
done drunk those upl — O Lord, for a river of buttermilk! — " 

The dust weighted down pokeberry and stickweed, alder, black- 
berry and milkweed. The old trim walls bounding the Valley Pike 
were now mere ruinous heaps of stones. The thousands of marching 
feet, the wheels, the hoofs furred these with dust. There were no 
wooden fences now of any description; there were few wayside trees, 
few wayside buildings. There were holes where the fence posts had 
been, and there were stumps of trees and there were blackened 
foundations where houses had been, and all these were yellowed 
and softened with dust. A long, thick, and moving wall, the dust 
accompanied the Second Corps. 

The Second Corps was used to it, used to it in its eyes, its throat, 
down its neck, in its shoes, all over. The Second Corps was used to 
poor shoes and to half shoes — used to uniforms whose best day was 
somewhere in past ages — used to hunger — used to thirst, thirst, 
thirst — used to twenty miles, twenty miles in heat and glare, or in 
mud and rain, or in ice or snow — used to the dust cloud, used to 



366 CEASE FIRING 

the storm, used to marching and marching, used to battling, used 
to a desperate war in a desperate land, used to singing, used to 
joking, used to despairing, used to hoping — used to dusty marches 1 
It was a long time since the dusty march by Ashby's Gap across to 
First Manassas. New Market, Mount Jackson, Edenburg, Wood- 
stock, Strasburg, Middletown, Kernstown — on the second of July 
they came to Winchester. Sigel was at Martinsburg beyond. 

Winchester was haggard, grey, and war-worn. How many times 
she had changed hands, passed from grey lover to blue master, it 
would be hard to tell. They were very many. Winchester had two 
faces, a proud and joyful and a depressed and sorrowful face. To- 
day she wore the first. 

On through Winchester, out upon the Pike to Martinsburg! 
There was skirmishing and Sigel quit the place, leaving behind him 
a deal of stores. That night he retired across the Potomac, to Mary- 
land Heights by Harper's Ferry, and the next day he burned the 
railroad and pontoon bridges at that place. The fifth and sixth of 
July the Second Corps crossed the river at Shepherdstown, crossed 
with loud singing. 

"Come! 'T Is the red dawn of the day, 
Maryland!" 

Steve was with the Sixty-fifth still. He had meant to leave before 
they got to Martinsburg, but the occasion did not arise and the 
Sixty-fifth swept him on. He had meant to hide in Martinsburg and 
soberly wait until the Second Corps had disappeared in the direc- 
tion of the Potomac, when he would emerge and turn his face home- 
ward. But in Martinsburg were the stores that Sigel had aban- 
doned. Coffee, sugar, canned goods, wheat bread — Steve supped 
with the regiment on the fat of the land. But it was his intention 
not to be present at roll-call next morning, and in pursuance of it he 
rolled, in the dark hour before dawn, out of the immediate encamp- 
ment of the Sixty-fifth, down a little rocky lane and under the high- 
built porch of a small house of whitewashed stone. Here he lay imtil 
the first light. . . . It showed through the lattice of his hiding-place 
an overturned sutler's wagon. Steve, creeping out, crept across and 
with his arms that were lean and long, felt in the straw. The wagon 
had been looted and the tears nearly came to his eyes on finding it 



THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON 367 

so. And then he came upon a bottle fallen from a case that had been 
taken away. It was champagne. 

Reveille soimding, the Sixty-fifth rose in the dim light and while 
making its cursory toilette thought of breakfast with coffee — with 
coffee — with coffee! Mess-fires burst into saffron bloom, the good 
smell of the coffee and of the sizzling bacon permeated the air, the 
Sixty-fifth came most cheerfully to breakfast. It sat down on the 
dewy earth around the fires, pleasant at this hour of the morning, it 
lifted its tin cups, blew upon the scalding coffee, sipped and sipped 
and agreed that life was good. Everybody was cheerful; at roll-call 
which immediately followed, everybody was present, in a full, firm 
tone of voice. Steve Dagg, filled with French courage, was most 
present. 

French courage was still unevaporated when the column moved 
forward. Then, with a shock, it was too late — he could n't get 
away — they were crossing the Potomac — 

"I hear the distant thunder-hum, 
Maryland! 
The Old Line bugle, fife, and drum, 
Maryland! " 

**' Gawd! "thought Steve. "They got me at last! I can't get away — 
I can't get back 'cross the river! Why'd I drink that stuff that was 
like cider 'n' whistled me back jest as easy? Why'd I leave Thxm- 
der Run ? They got me in a trap — " 

Maryland Heights was strongly fortified, too strongly for Breck- 
inridge and Gordon, demonstrating against it, to drive out the blue 
forces. After a day Early swept on through the passes of South 
Mountain, toward Frederick, east and south of which town runs the 
Monocacy. On this stream there formed to meet the grey a portion 
of the blue Eighth Army Corps and Rickett's division of the Six- 
teenth Corps, six thousand men under General Lew Wallace. 

There were earthworks and two blockhouses and they over- 
frowned the two bridges that crossed the Monocacy. Beyond these 
and on either side the blue lines, strongly seen in the clear, hot fore- 
noon, were fields with board fences and straw stacks, much stout 
fencing and many and closely ranged straw stacks. Through these 
fields ran the clear road to Washington, blocked now at the river by 
Wallace and his men. 



368 CEASE FIRING 

Jubal Early sent McCausland across, who dismounted his caval- 
rymen and with them fell so furiously on the enemy's left flank that 
it broke. It gathered again and pushed McCausland back, where- 
upon Early sent across by the same ford Breckinridge with Gordon's 
division, Ramseur in the mean time skirmishing on the western bank 
with the blue's advanced front. Gordon attacked with his usual 
gallantry, King's and Nelson's artillery supporting. The blue cen- 
tre broke and rolled back from the banks of Monocacy. Ramseur 
and Rodes now crossed with a shout, and at a double all grey troops 
swept forward. 

Steve crossed Monocacy because he must, and climbed several 
fences because he saw that if he did n't he would be trampled. But 
in the straw field he fell, groaning. "Hit?" asked the man beside 
him and was immediately gone, the regiment rushing forward. 

Steve drew himself well behind a great straw stack, splitting the 
advance like a spongy Gibraltar. Here he found a more or less like- 
minded private from one of the Georgia regiments. This one had 
quite deeply burrowed, and Steve, noting the completeness of his 
retirement, tore out for himself a like cavern in the straw. Outside 
was shouting and confusion and smoke; in here was space at least in 
which to have a vision of the clear security of Thunder Run Moun- 
tain. "You wounded, too?" proffered from behind a straw parti- 
tion his fellow retirer. 

"Yaas," answered Steve. "In the foot." 

"I got hurt in the hip," said the other. "It's an old strain, and 
sometimes, when we're double-quicking, I'm liable to give out. The 
boys all know about it and make allowance. They all know I fight 
like the devil up to that point." 

"Same here," said Steve. "I fight like a tiger, but now 'n' then 
comes along a time when a man 's under a moral necessity not to. 
When your foot gives under you you can't go on charging — not 
if Napoleon Cffisar himself was there shoutin' about duty!" 

"Them's my sentiments," said the other. "We're going to win 
this battle. I see it the way we looked going in. How do you feel 
about going on to Washington?" 

" I 've had my doubts," said Steve. " How do you feel ? " 

"It's powerful rich and full of things to eat and drink and wear. 
But there'd be awful fighting getting in." 



THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON 369 

"That's the way I feel," said Steve. "Awful fightin' 'n' I 
don't—" 

An officer's sword mvaded their dwelling-place. "Get out of 
here! What are you doing hiding here? Tie you in this rick and set 
fire to it, you damned skulkers'. Get out and march ahead!" The 
flat of the sword descended vigorously. 

Steve yelped and rubbed. " Gawd, Captain! don't do that! I got 
a hurt foot — " 

Much later, having been carried on — the whole wagon train now 
crossing — in a commissary wagon travelling light, he rejoined his 
brigade and regiment. He foimd the Sixty-fifth in a mood of jubila- 
tion bivouacked in the dusk Maryland countryside, with a glow yet 
in the west^and the fireflies tinselling all the fields. Steve came in for 
supper, and between slow gulps of "real" coffee related an adven- 
tmre in the straw field, marvellous as the "Three Turks' Heads." 
His mess was one of "left-overs," seven or jpight of the stupid, the 
ne'er-do-weel or the slightly rascally sort, shaken together in the 
regiment's keen sifting of human nature. Totally incredulous, save 
for a deficient one or two, the mess yet found a place for Steve, if it 
were only the place of a torn leaf from a rather sorry jest-book. The 
ne'er-do-weel and the slightly rascally, most of whom were courage- 
ous enough, began to describe for his benefit the ckevaux-de-frise of 
forts around Washington. They made Steve shiver. He went to 
bed frightened, and arose under the stars, still frightened. 

This day, the tenth of July, the Second Corps marched twenty 
miles. The day was one of the hottest of a hot summer. Not the 
lightest zephyr lifted a leaf or dried the sweat on a soldier's brow. 
The dust of the Georgetown Pike rose thick and stifling until it 
made a broad and deep and thick and stifling cloud. There was 
little water to be had throughout the day. The Second Corps suf- 
fered profoimdly. That night it lay in the fields by the roadside 
near Rockville. The night was smoking hot, and the men lay fever- 
ishly, moving their limbs and sighing, troubled with dreams. The 
bugles sovmded under a copper dawn and they rose to an eleventh 
of July, hot, dust-clogged, and thirsty as had been the tenth. . 

There were sunstrokes this day, exhaustion from heat, a traU of 
involuntary stragglers, men limping in the rear, men sitting, head 
on knees, beneath the powdered wayside growth, men lying motion- 



370 CEASE FIRING 

less in the ditch beside the road. Horses fell and died. There were 
many delays. But through all heat, great weariness, and suffering, 
Early, shrill-voiced and determined, urged the troops on upon the 
road to Washington. The troops responded. Something less than 
eight thousand muskets moved in the great dust of the pike, forty 
guns, and ahead, the four small cavalry brigades of McCausland, 

Imboden, W. L. Jackson, and Bradley Johnson. " !" said 

Early. "If we can't take it, at least we can give it a quaking fit! — 
increase the peace clamour ! It 's worth while to see if we can get to 

the outer fortifications before they pour their numbers into 

them!" 

The Second Corps marched fast, now by the Silver Spring Road, 
Imboden's cavalry ahead, Jackson's on the flank, full before them 
Fort Stevens, very visible in the distance, Washington. The men 
moistened their lips, talked, for all the dust in their throats, the 
blood beating in their temples, and the roaring in their ears. "Take 
it! Could we take it?" — "By supernal luck — a chance in a million 
— if they were all asleep or dazed ! " — " Take it and end the war — 
O God, if we could!" — "Run up the Stars and Bars — Play 
'Dixie' everywhere — Live! at last live after four years of being 
born! " — "Take Washington — eight thousand of us and the cav- 
alry and the twelve-pounder Napoleons — " From the front broke 
out a long crackling fire. " Cavalry in touch — cavalry in touch." 
Rodes's division, leading, came into line of battle. As it did so rose 
in the south between Fort Stevens and the city a great dust cloud. 

" !"said Early. "There isn't a plan or a cannon numbers 

won't spike! — Skirmishers to the front!" 

"Every prominent point," says a Federal officer, speaking of the 
Washington fortifications, — "every prominent point, at intervals 
of eight hundred to one thousand yards, was occupied byan enclosed 
field fort; every important approach or depression of ground, un- 
seen from the forts, was swept by a battery for field-guns; and the 
whole connected by rifie trenches which were in fact lines of infantry 
parapets, furnishing emplacement for two ranks of men, and afford- 
ing covered communication along the line, while roads were opened 
wherever necessary, so that troops and artillery could be moved 
rapidly from one point of the immense , periphery to another, or 
under cover, from point to point along the line. The coimterscarps 



THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON 371 

were surrounded by abatis; bomb-proofs were provided in nearly all 
the forts; all guns, not solely intended for distant fire, placed in em- 
brasures and well traversed. All commanding points on which an 
enemy would be likely to concentrate artillery . . . were subjected 
not only to the fire, direct and across, of many points along the line, 
but also from heavy rifled gims from points imattainable by the 
enemy's field-guns." There were twenty thousand blue troops, gar- 
rison and reserves, and in addition, at two o'clock of this day, began 
to arrive Ricketts's and Emory's divisions of the Sixth and Niae- 
teenth Corps, sent by Grant. 

The eleventh and the twelfth there was heavy skirmishing. Dur- 
ing these days the Second Corps saw that it could not take Washing- 
ton. The heat continued; now through quivering air, now through 
great dust clouds they saw the dome of the capitol. It was near, 
near! The Second Corps was closer to Washington than ever in this 
war had been the North to Richmond; it was very near, but there is 
the possible and there is the impossible, and it was not possible for 
the Second Corps to make entry. On the night of the tweKth it 
withdrew from before Washington and marching to the Potomac 
crossed by White's Ford into Loudoun County, Fifteen thousand 
blue troops pursued, but the grey crossed the river in safety. They 
crossed singing "Swanee River." It was the last sally of the be- 
leaguered South forth upon the beleaguerer's groimd. Henceforth, 
the battle thtmdered against the very inner keep of the fortress. 

Marching through great dust and heat and glare and weariness 
back through Maryland to the Potomac, the Second Corps gath- 
ered up from the roadside and the byways and the hedges its strag- 
glers, involimtary or otherwise. A dozen hours from Washington 
it gathered out of a cornfield Steve Dagg. 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE CRATER 

At Petersburg, on the Appomattox, twenty miles south of 
/A Richmond, June went by in thunder, day and night, of 
•*- -^ artillery duels, with, for undersong, a perpetual, pattering 
rain of sharpshooters' bullets, torn across, at intervals, by a sharp 
and long sound of musketry. In the hot and sickly weather, imder 
the hovering smoke, engineers of the Army of Northern Virginia, 
engineers of the Army of the Potomac worked like beavers. The 
grey line drawn by Beauregard early in the month was strengthened 
and pieced out. Over against it curved a great blue sickle of forts, 
with trenches and parapets between. Grey and blue alike had in 
the rear of their ^nanned works a labyrinth and honeycomb of 
approaches, covered ways, pits, magazines, bomb-proofs, traverses. 
The blue had fearfully the advantage in artillery. Grey and blue, 
the lines, in part, were very close, so close that there would be little 
warning of assault. The Army of Northern Virginia, now, in num- 
bers, not a great army, had to watch, day and night. It watched with 
an intensity which brought a further depth into men's eyes, deep 
enough now in all conscience, deep enough in the summer of 1864! 
On the twenty-second. Grant attempted to extend his flank upon 
the left toward the Weldon Railroad. Lee sent A. P. Hill out against 
this movement. Hill, in his red battle shirt, strong fighter and 
prompt, swung through an opening left unaware between the two 
corps, the Second and Sixth, and, turning, struck the Second in the 
rear. After the fiercest fighting the blue, having lost four guns and 
several stands of colours, and seventeen hundred prisoners, drew 
back within their lines. 

Grant dispatched two divisions of cavalry with orders to tear 
up the Lynchburg and Danville Railroad. They spread ruin south 
to the Staunton River, but here W. H. F. Lee, who had followed, 
attacked them at Blacks and Whites. Retiring they found them- 
selves between two fires. Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee, back 



THE CRATER 373 

from the fight at Trevillian's Station, fell upon the two divisions at 
Sapony Church. Infantry of Mahone's came up also and aided. 
After a running fight of a day and night, in which the blue lost, in 
killed and wounded and taken, fifteen hundred men, twelve guns, 
and a wagon train, they escaped over the Blackwater, burning the 
bridge^ between them and the grey, and so returned to Grant at 
Petersburg. 

On the first of July, General Alexander, Longstreet's Chief of 
Artillery, wounded and furloughed home, was driven, before quit- 
ting the lines, to Violet Bank, where were Lee's headquarters. About 
the place were small, much the worse for wear, Confederate tents. 
The commanding general himself had a room within the house. The 
wounded officer found him standing, with several of the staff, upon 
the porch steps. He had his field-glasses open, and he was listening 
to the report of a scout. When at last the man saluted and fell back, 
Alexander stated the conviction that was in him. He felt a certainty 
that the enemy was engaged in driving a mine under the point known 
as Elliott's Salient. 

"Why do you think so. General ? " 

"Their sharpshooters keep up a perpetual, converging fire, sir, 
upon just that hand's-breadth of our line. On the other hand, they 
pay so little attention to the works to right and left that the men 
can show themselves with impimity. They are not clearing the 
ground for surface approaches — well, then, I think that they are 
working underground. If you were going from that side to explode 
a mine and assault unmediately afterward, that would be the place 
you would choose, I think." 

"That is true," said Lee. " But you would have to make a long 
tunnel to get under that salient, General." 

"About five hundred feet, sir." 

Mr. Francis Lawley, of the London Times, was of the group upon 
the steps. " In the siege of Delhi, sir, we drove what was, I believe, 
considered the longest possible gallery. It was four hundred feet. 
Beyond that it was found impossible to ventilate." 

"The enemy," said Alexander, "have a number of Pennsylvania 
coal-miners, who may be trusted to find some means to ventilate. 
This war is doing a power of things that were not done at Delhi." 

"I will act on your warning. General," said Lee. 



374 CEASE FIRING 

The next day the grey began to drive two countermines. Later in 
the month they started two others. Pegram's battery occupied the 
threatened salient, with Elliott's troops in the rifle-pits. The grey 
miners drove as far and fast as they might, but they tunnelled out- 
ward from either flank of the salient, while the Pennsylvania coal- 
miners, twenty feet underground, dug straight toward the apex. 
The days passed — many days. 

On the eighteenth was received the news of the removal of Joseph 
E. Johnston from the command of the Army of Tennessee. Wade 
Hampton, being at headquarters, heard Lee's expression of opinion 
and wrote it to General Johnston. . . . "He expressed great regret 
that you had been removed and said that he had done all in his 
power to prevent it. He had saiid to Mr. Seddon that if you could 
not command the army we had no one who could." Later came the 
tidings of Hood's lost battle of Atlanta and all its train of slow dis- 
aster. On the twenty-fifth, news of Jubal Early's victory at Win- 
chester the day before was cheered to the echo. In the last days of 
the month came news of Stoneman and McCook's raiding in Geor- 
gia and of the scattered fighting in Arkansas. 

North and South, away from the camps, there was flagging of 
spirit and sickness of soul. In the North the war was costing close 
upon four millions of dollars a day. Gold in July went to two him- 
dred and eighty-five. The North gained now its fresh soldiers by 
bounties, and those heavy. All the northern tier of states, great 
as they were, untouched by invasion, and the ocean theirs — all 
the North winced and staggered now under the burden of the war. 
But the South — the South was past wincing. Bent to her knees, 
bowed like a caryatid, she fought on in her fixed position. 

At Petersburg, Grant meant to explode a great mine and to fol- 
low it, in the confusion, by a great and determined assault. More- 
over, in order to weaken the opposition here and the more to dis- 
tract and appall, he detached Hancock with twenty thousand men 
for a feint against Richmond. Hancock marched to Deep Bottom, 
where Butler, having ironclads on the river and a considerable force 
encamped on the northern bank, guarded two pontoon bridges 
across the James. Between this place and Richmond was Conner's 
grey brigade and at Drewry's Bluff, Willcox's division. Moving with 
Hancock was Sheridan and six thousand horse. 



THE CRATER 375 

Lee, watchful, sent Kershaw's division to join with Willcox and 
Conner and guard Richmond. Hancock crossed on the twenty- 
seventh, and that morning Kershaw came into collision with Sheri- 
dan, losing prisoners and two colours. Lee further detached W. H. 
F. Lee's cavalry and Heth's infantry. The alarm bell rang rapid 
and loud in Richmond and all the home defences went out to the 
lines. But Hancock, checked at Deep Bottom, only flourished before 
Richmond; on the twenty-ninth, indeed, drew back in part to the 
Petersburg lines, in order to take part in the great and general as- 
sault. When the thirtieth dawned, with Willcox, Kershaw, Heth, 
and the cavalry away, Lee was holding lines, ten miles from tip to 
tip, with not more than twenty thousand men. 

It was a boding, still night, hot 'in the far-flimg wild tangle of 
trenches, pits, and approaches, hot in the fields, hot in Poor Creek 
Valley where the blue were massing, hot amongst the guns of 
Elliott's Salient. The stars were a Uttle dimmed by dust in the air 
and the yet undissipated smoke from the artillery firing that had 
ceased at dusk. 

Li the blue lines]there was between generals a difference of opinion 
as to what division should lead in the now imminent assault. Burn- 
side advised the use of Ferrero's coloured division. Meade dissented, 
and the point was referred to Grant. He says: "General Burnside 
wanted to put his coloured division in front, and I believe if he had 
done so it would have been a success. Still I agreed with General 
Meade as to his objections to that plan. General Meade said that if 
we put the coloured troops in front (we had only one division) and 
it should prove a failure, it would then be said, and very properly, 
that we were shoving these people ahead to get killed because we 
did not care anything about them. But that could not be said if 
we put white troops in front." 

This settled it, and Ledlie's division was given the lead. It formed 
behind earthworks full in front of Elliott's Salient, in its rear two 
supporting divisions; its objective Cemetery Hill, commanding the 
town; its orders, as soon as the mine should explode, to pass over 
and through the grey's torn line, take the hill, and pass into Peters- 
burg. It was midnight when LedUe's line was formed, the support- 
ing divisions drawn up. The night was hot and exceedingly close; 
the men stood waiting, feverish, every sense alert. One o'clock — 



376 CEASE FIRING 

two o'clock — three o'clock. Ledlie moved forward, taking position 
immediately behind the breastworks. Again a wait, every eye upon 
where, in the darkness, should be Elliott's Salient. 

On the grey side there was knowledge that a mine was digging, 
but ignorance of the day or night in which it would be fired. Lee 
slept, or waked, at Violet Bank; far and near in its trenches the 
Army of Northern Virginia lay, well-picketed, in a restless sleep. 
The nights were hot, and there was much misery and frequent night 
firing. All sleep now was restless, easily and often broken. There 
were South Carolina troops in and about Elliott's Salient. Reveille 
would sound and the sun would rise shortly before five o'clock. 

The stars began to pale. Ledlie sent to General Burnside to ask the 
cause of delay. The men had been in ranks for four hours. Burn- 
side answered that the fuse had been lit at a quarter-past three 
but evidently had not burned the suf&cient distance. A lieutenant 
and a sergeant had volunteered to enter the tunnel, find out what 
was the matter and relight the fuse. Ledlie's aide returned and re- 
ported, and the division stood tense, gazing with a strained inten- 
tion. It was light enough now to see, beyond their own advanced 
works, the grey line they meant to send skyward. Beyond the line 
was Petersburg, that they meant to take; beyond Petersburg, a day's 
march, was Richmond. 

The light strengthened, pallor in the north and south and west, 
in the east a cold, faint, upstreaming purple. Somewhere in the 
cavalry lines a bugle blew, remote, thin, of an elfin melancholy. As 
though it had been the signal, the mine exploded. 

The morning light was darkened. The earth heaved so that many 
of the blue staggered and fell. A mass sprang into the air, mounted 
a hundred feet and spread out into an umbrella-shaped cloud. As 
it began to descend, it was seen that earth and rock might come upon 
the blue themselves. The troops gave back with shouts. 

In that cloud of pulverized earth, smoke, and flame were mam- 
moth clods of clay, one as large as a small cabin, timber of salient 
and breastworks, guns, carriages, caissons, sandbags, anything and 
everything that had been upon the mined ground, including some 
hundreds of human beings. The hole it left behind it was one hun- 
dred and seventy feet long, sixty wide, and thirty deep. Back into 
this now rained in part the lumps of earth, the logs of wood, the 



THE CRATER 377 

pieces of iron, the human clay. The trembling of the earth ceased, 
the soimd of the detonation ceased. There came what seemed an 
instant of utter quiet, for after that rage of sound the cries of 
the yet living, the only partially buried in that pit, counted as 
nothing. The instant was shattered by the concerted voice of one 
hundred and fifty blue guns and mortars, prepared and stationed 
to add their great quota of death and terror. They brought into 
that morning of distraction one of the heaviest cannonades of all 
the war. 

Through the rocking air, in the first slant beams of the sun the 
blue troops heard the order to advance. They moved. Before them 
were their own breastworks over which they must swarm, thus 
sharply breaking line. Beyond these, one hundred and fifty yards 
away, were curious heaps of earth, something like dunes. The air 
above was yet dust and smoke. On went the Second Brigade, lead- 
ing. It came, yet without just alignment, to the crest of the dunes, 
and from these it saw the crater. . . . There was no pausing, there 
could be none, for the First Brigade, immediately in the rear, was 
pressing on. The blue troops shd down the steep incline and came 
upon the floor of the crater, among the debris and the horribly 
caught and buried and smothered men. 

There followed a moment's hesitation and gasp of astonishment; 
then the blue officers shouted the brigade forward. It overpassed the 
seamed floor and reached the steep other side of the excavation. 
Behind it it heard, or might have heard if anything could have been 
heard in the roar of one hundred and fifty guns, the First Brigade 
slipping and stumbling in its turn down the almost perpendicular 
slope into the crater. The Second Brigade climbed somehow the 
thirty feet up to the level of the world at large. On this side the 
hole it was a grey world. 

If the explosion had stunned the grey, they had now regained 
their senses. If the force of the appalling blue cannonade caused an 
end-of-the-world sensation, even in such a cataclysm there was room 
for action. The grey acted. Into the ruined trenches right and left 
of and behind the destroyed salient poured what was left of Elliott's 
brigade. Regiments of Wise and Ramseur came at a rim. Lee, now 
with Beauregard at the threatened front, sent orders to Mahone 
to bring up two brigades with all speed. A gun of Davidson's 



378 CEASE FIRING 

battery in a salient to the right commanded at less than four hun- 
dred yards what had been Elliott's Salient and was now the crater. 
Wright's battery on the left, Haskell's Coehorn mortars fringing a 
gorge line in the rear, likewise could send death into that hollow. In- 
fantry and artillery, the grey opened with a steady, rapid fire. And 
all the time, behind the blue Second Brigade, now forming for a rush 
on the greyward edge of the crater, came massing into that deep and 
wide and long bear-pit more blue troops, and yet more. And now 
the Second Brigade, checked and disconcerted by the unexpected 
strength of the resistance, wavered, could not be formed, fell back 
into the crater that was already too filled with men. 

Here formation became impossible. An aide was sent in hot haste 
to General Ledlie, for his own fame somewhat too securely placed 
in the rear. Ledlie sent back word to Marshall and Bartlett, lead- 
ing, that they must advance and assault at once; it was General 
Burnside's order. The aide says : "This message was delivered. But 
the firing on the crater now was incessant, and it was as heavy a 
fire of canister as was ever poured continuously upon a single ob- 
jective point. It was as utterly impracticable to re-form a brigade 
in that crater as it would be to marshal bees into line after upset- 
ting the hive; and equally as impracticable to re-form outside of 
the crater, under the severe fire in front and rear, as it would be to 
hold a dress parade in front of a charging enemy." 

So far from the pit being cleared, it received fresh accessions. 
GriflSn's brigade, coming up, tried to pass by the right, but entangled 
in a maze of grey earthworks, trenches, traverses, and disordered by 
the searching fire, it too fell aside and sank into the hollow made by 
the mine. "Every organization melted away, as soon as it entered 
this hole in the ground, into a mass of human beings chnging by 
toes and heels to the almost perpendicular sides. If a man was shot 
on the crest he fell and rolled to the bottom of the pit." 

The blue Third Division, arriving, attacked the manned works 
to the left, took and for a little held them, then was driven back. 
Haskell's grey battery of sixteen guns on the Jerusalem Plank Road 
came greatly into action. Lee and Beauregard were watching from 
the Gee house. Mahone, of A. P. Hill's Corps, was coming up with 
three brigades, coming fast. . . . 

The coloured division of the Ninth Army corps had a song, — 



THE CRATER 379 

" We looks lak men er-marchin' on, 
We looks lak men ob war — " 

They had siing it sitting on the ground around camp-fires the 
night before when they had been told that they would lead the 
charge — the great charge that was going to take B landlord Church 
and Cemetery, and then Petersburg, and then Richmond, and was 
going to end the war and make all coloured people free, and give 
to every one a cabin, forty acres, and a mule, and the deathless 
friendship of the Northern people. 

",We looks lak men er-marchin' on, 
We looks lak men ob war — " 

They had not led that grotesquely halted charge, but now they, 
too, were required for victims by the crater. Burnside sent an order, 
"The coloured division to advance at all hazards." 

It advanced, got somehow past the crater and came to a bloody, 
hand-to-hand conflict with the grey. The fighting here was brutal, 
a maddening short war in which, black and white, the always ani- 
mal struggleofwargrewmoreanimal yet. Itwasshort. Thecolouired 
division broke and fell back into the crater. . . . All the grey bat- 
teries, all the grey infantry poured fire into this place where Burn- 
side's white and coloured troops were now inextricably mixed. At 
ten o'clock up came Mahone with three brigades and swept the 
place. 

By two o'clock the Confederate lines were restored and the battle 
of the crater ended. This day the blue had been hoist by their own 
petard. The next day Grant sent a flag of truce asking a cessation 
of hostilities until he could gather his wounded and bury the dead. 
Lee gave four hours. 

During this truce grey soldiers as well as blue pressed to the edge 
of the crater to observe and wonder. They were used to massacre 
and horror in great variety, but there was something faintly novel 
here. They came not ghoulishly, but good-naturedly — "just want- 
ing to see what gunpowder could do!" They fraternized with the 
blue at work and the blue fraternized with them, for that was the 
way the grey and blue did between hostilities. They spoke the same 
language, they read the same Bible, they had behind them the same 
background of a far island home, and then of small sailing-ships at 



380 CEASE FIRING 

sea, and then of a new land, huge forests, Indians, wolves; at last 
towns and farms, roads, stages, packet-boats, and railway trains. 
They had to an extent the same tastes — to an extent like casts of 
countenance. Theoneused "Iguess"and the otherused "Ireckon," 
and they differed somewhat in temperament, but the innermost 
meaning was not far from being the same. At the worst an observer 
from a far country might have said, "They are half brothers." So 
they fraternized during the truce, the grey this afternoon, the more 
triumphant, and the blue the more rueful. . . . "Hello, Yanks! 
You were going to send us to Heaven, were n't you? and instead you 
got sent yourselves!" — "Never mind! better luck next time! You 
certainly made a fuss in the world for once ! " — "How many pounds 
of gunpowder? 'Eight thousand.' Geewhilikins! That was a siz- 
able charge!" — "If you'd been as flush of gunpowder as we are, 
you might have made it twenty, just as easy!" — "There's a man 
buried over there — see, where the boot is sticking up!" — "Yes, 
you blew some of us into Heaven — twenty-two gunners, they say, 
and about three hundred of Elliott's men — just enough to show your 
big crowd the way!" — "That junk-heap over there's Pegram's 
guns." — "Such a mess! White men and black men and caissons 
and limbers." — "I thought that body was moving; but no, it was 
something else." — "Got any tobacco?" — "We'd like first-rate to 
trade for coffee." — " There 's a man crying for water. Got your can- 
teen? — mine is n't any nearer than a spring a mile away. I '11 take it 
to him — know what thirst means — been thirsty myself and it means 
Hell! " — "Well, it was a fine mine, if it did go a bit wrong, and you 
deserve a lot of credit — though I don't think some of your generals 
do!" — "Yes, that's so! People stay what they always were, even 
through war. Lee stays Lee and Grant stays Grant, and Meade 
stays Meade, and A. P. Hill stays A. P. Hill. And some others 
stay what they always were, too, — more's the pity!" — "Here, 
we'll help cover this row." — "Did you see little Billy Mahone 
charging? Pretty fine, was n't it? " — " Saw your Colonel Marshall 
and General Bartlett when they were taken prisoner. They seemed 
fine men. Yes, that's so! We ain't got a monopoly, and you ain't 
got a monopoly." 

The truce would last until full dark. Now, as the sun went down 
in a copper sky, most of the work was done. In great numbers the 



THE CRATER 381 

wounded had been lifted from the floor and sides of the crater; 
in great numbers the dead had been lowered into trenches, shallow 
trenches, the earth just covering the escaped from life. There were 
yet blue working-parties, a faint movement of blue and grey watch- 
ers, but the crater was lonely to what it had been. Only the wild 
debris remained, and the mounds beneath which life had gone out 
and been buried. There seemed a silence, too, heavy with the ap- 
proaching night. A grey pioneer detail tJiat had been engaged in 
repairing a work that flanked the vast excavation rested on spade 
and pick and gazed into the place. An infantry company of A. P. 
Hill's, marching to some assigned post, was halted for five minutes 
and allowed to break ranks. Officers and men desired to look at the 
big hole in the groimd. 

In groups or singly they peered over the edge or scrambled half- 
way down the loose earth of the sides. The sun's rim had dipped; 
the west showed a forbidding hue, great level washes of a cold and 
sickly colour. Steadily this slope of the great earth wheeled under, 
leaving the quenchless hearth of the sun, facing the night without 
the house of light. It was all but dusk. One of the soldiers of this 
company was Maury Stafford. He stood alone, his back to a great 
projecting piece of timber and looked into the pit and across to the 
copper west. "Barring prison," he thought, "for simple horror I 
have never seen a worse place than this." 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE VALLEY 

Early's task in the Valley throughout this summer and au- 
tumn was to preserve a threatening attitude toward blue 
territory on the other side of the Potomac, to hinder and 
harass Federal use of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Balti- 
more and Ohio Railroad, and to render the Northern Capital so 
continuously anxious that it might at any time choose to weaken 
Grant in order to add to its own defences. In addition he had pre- 
sently Sheridan to contend with, Sheridan strengthened by Hunter, 
returned now from the Kanawha Valley to the main battle-grounds. 
Sheridan's task in the Valley was to give body to the Northern 
reasoning as to the uses, at this stage of the game, of that section. 
With war rapidly concentrating as it now was, the Northern Govern- 
ment saw the Valley no more as a battle-ground, nor as of especial 
use to the blue colour on the chessboard. But it was of use to the 
grey, especially that rich portion of it called the Shenandoah Val- 
ley. Moreover it was grey; scourge it well and you scourged a grey 
province. Make it untenable, a desert, and the loss would be felt 
where it was meant to be felt. Sheridan, with Hunter to aid, de- 
vastated as thoroughly as if his name had been Attila. McCaus- 
land made a cavalry raid into Pennsylvania and, ia reprisal for 
Hunter's burnings, burned the town of Chambersburg. It did not 
stop the burnings across the river; they went on through the length 
and breadth of the Valley of Virginia. Over the mountains, in 
Northern Virginia, in the rolling counties of Fauquier and Loudoun, 
was "Mosby's Confederacy," where the most daring of all grey 
partisan leaders "operated in the enemy's lines." Mosby did what 
lay in man to do to help the lower Valley. He " worried and har- 
assed" Sheridan by day and by night. But the burning and lifting 
went on. When late autumn came, with winter before it, a great 
region lay bare, and over it wandered a vision of drawn faces of 
women and a cry of small children. 



THE VALLEY 383 

Sheridan in person did not come until the first week in August. 
Late in July Early fought the Army of West Virginia, Crook and 
Averell, at Winchester — fought and won. Here the Golden Brig- 
ade did good service, and here the "Fighting Sixty-fifth" won 
mention again, and here Steve Dagg definitely determined to re- 
nounce the Confederate service. 

Life had taken on for Steve an aspect of '62 in the Valley — only 
worse. In a dreadful dream he seemed to be recovering old tints, 
repeating old experiences from Front Royal to Winchester — but 
all darkened and hardened. In '62 the country was still rich, and 
you could forage, but now there was no foraging. There was no- 
thing to forage for. Then the old Army of the Valley had been ill- 
clad and curiously confident and cheerful, with Mr. Commissary 
Banks double-quicking down the pike, before Old Jack! Now the 
Second Corps was worse-clad, and far, far from the ancient careless 
cheer. It still laughed and joked and sang, but less often, and al- 
ways, when it did laugh, it was with a certain grimness as of Despair 
not far off. On night and day marches, you heard song and jest, 
indeed, but you heard heavy sighs as well — a heavy sighing in the 
night-time or the daytime, as the army moved on the Valley Pike. 
Now confident good cheer in others was extraordinarily necessary 
to Steve. When it flagged, it was as though a raft had sunk from 
beneath him. Yes, it was '62 over again, but a homesick, strange, 
far worse '62 ! Daily life grew to be for him a series of shocks, more 
or less violent, but all violent. Life went in magic-lantern slides — 
alternate blackness and frightful, vivid pictures in which blood red 
predominated. Steve developed a morbid horror of blood. 

August came. At Moorefield occurred a cavalry fight, Averell 
against McCausland and Bradley Johnson, the grey suffering defeat. 
On the seventh came Sheridan with the Sixth and the Nineteenth 
Army Corps and Torbert's great force of cavalry. The blue forces 
in the Valley now numbered perhaps forty-five thousand, with some 
thousands more in garrison at Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry. 
Lee sent in this month Kershaw's division and Fitzhugh Lee's cav- 
alry, but in a few weeks, indeed, Kershaw must be recalled to Peters- 
burg, where they needed every man — every man and more ! In the 
Valley August and the first third of September went by in marchings 
and counter-marchings, infantry skirmishing and cavalry raids. The 



384 CEASE FIRING 

third week of the latter month found the grey gathered behind the 
Opequon. 

Mid-September and the woods by the Opequon turning red and 
gold. "Ah," said the Sixty-fifth, "we camped here after Sharps- 
burg, before we went over the mountains and fought at Fredericks- 
burg 1 But it is n't as it was — it is n't as it was — " 

Gordon and Breckenridge and Ramseur and Rodes, with Fitz Lee's 
cavalry sent up from Tidewater, all camped for a time beside the 
Opequon. The stream ran with an inner voice, an autumn colouring 
was on the land. " But it is n't bright," said the men, "it is n't bright 
like it was that fall!" — "Is n't time yet for it to be bright. Bright 
in October." — "Yes, of course — but that fall it was bright all the 
time! The seasons are changing anyhow." — "What's that the 
Bible student 's saying? ' The lean kine and the lean ears of corn — ' " 
Opequon flowed on, brown and clear, but much of the woodland by 
Opequon had been hewed away, and the bordering lands were not 
now under cultivation. All were bare and sorrowful. There were no 
cattle, no stock of any kind. The leaves turned red and the leaves 
turned yellow and the wind murmured through the hacked and 
hewed forest, and the nights were growing chill. "Do you remem- 
ber," said the men, "the day that Heros von Borcke brought Old 
Jack the new uniform from Jeb Stuart ?" — "Do you remember 
the revival here ? " 

"We're tenting to-night on the old camp-ground, 
Give us a song to cheer — •" 

The seventeenth and eighteenth all divisions moved nearer to 
Winchester. The nineteenth the battle of Winchester had its mo- 
ment in time, — a battle very fortunate for the Confederates early 
in the day, not at all so fortunate later in the day, — a fierce, drama- 
tic battle, in which the blue cavalry played the lion's part, — blue 
cavalry very different, under Sheridan in '64, from the untrained 
and weakly handled blue cavalry of the earlier years, — a battle 
in which Rodes was killed and Fitzhugh Lee wounded, in which 
killed and wounded and missing the blue lost upward of five thou- 
sand, and in killed and wounded and captured the grey lost as many 
— a bitter battle! 

Steve had to fight — he could not get out of it. He was out on the 



THE VALLEY 385 

Berryville road — Abraham's Creek at his back. The Sixty-fifth 
was about him; it was steady and bold, and he got some warmth 
about his heart out of the fact. In the hopeful first half of the day, 
with a ruined stone wall for breastwork, with Nelson's and Brax- 
ton's guns making a shaken grey rag of the atmosphere, with Ram- 
seur standing fast, with Gordon and Rodes sweeping to Ramseur's 
aid, with Breckenridge, the " Kentucky Gamecock," fighting as 
magnificently as he looked, with Lomax and Fitz Lee, with the storm 
and shouting, and the red field and blue and starry cross advanced, 
with about him the strength of the Golden Brigade and the un- 
troubled look of the Sixty-fifth, Steve even fought as he had never 
fought before. He tore cartridges, loaded and fired, and he grinned 
when the wind blew the smoke, and the opposite force was seen to 
give way. When the Golden Brigade went forward in a charge, he 
went with it a good part of the way. But then he stumbled 
over a stone and fell with an oath as of pain. The Golden Brigade 
and the Sixty-fifth went on and left him there near a convenient 
cairn of stones with a reddened vine across it. His action had been 
largely automatic; he had no longer in such^ matters the agony of 
choosing; as soon as fear entered his heart his joints acted. Now 
they drew him more securely behind the heap of stones. Far ahead, 
he heard, through the thunder of the guns, the voice of the Golden 
Brigade, the voice of the Sixty-fifth Virginia charging the foe. He 
looked down, and to his horror he saw that he was really wounded. 
This was high noon, and at high noon the grey thought with 
justice that they had the field, had it, despite the fall of Rodes, a 
general beloved. Now set in a level two hours of hard fighting to 
hold that field. . . . And then wheeled on the afternoon, and the 
tide definitely turned. Crook's corps, not until now engaged, struck 
the left on the Martinsburg Pike, and the blue cavalry, disciplined 
now and strong, came in a whirlwind upon the rear of this wing, 
pushing it and a cavalry brigade of Fitz Lee's back — back — back 
through Winchester — back on the centre and right, now furiously 
attacked by all three arms. The tide raced to its ebb with the 
grey. . . . Gordon found his wife in the street in Winchester, 
pleading with Gordon's men to go back and strike them anyhow. 
Her tears were streaming. "The first time I ever saw Confederate 
lines broken, and I hope it will be the last!" 



386 CEASE FIRING 

They were broken. It was not wild panic nor rout, but it was a 
lost battle, known as such at last by even the most stubbornly de- 
termined or recklessly brave. By twilight the Second Corps was 
in retreat, moving in order up the Valley Pike, sullen and sorrowful, 
torn and decimated and weary, heartsick with the dead and wounded 
and captured left behind. Kernstownl They looked at the old field 
with unseeing eyes. 

Steve, behind his cairn of stones, had viewed with agony a blue 
cavalry charge coming. It passed him in dust and thunder, the hoof 
of a great chestnut actually striking his shoulder. It passed, but 
the dust had not settled before infantry of Rodes, pressed this way, 
overran his fraction of the field, behind them another wild cavalry 
dash. It was sickening to see the horses ride men down, ride them 
down and strike them under! It was sickening to see the sabres 
flash, descend all bright and rise so red! It was sickening to hear 
cries, oaths, adjuration, and under all a moaning, moaning! And 
the smoke, so thick and stifling, and a horror even of taste and 
smell . . . Steve, with a flesh wound across his thigh where a bul- 
let had glanced, got up and ran, dropping blood. 

As he went he found about him the wildest confusion. Units and 
groups of cavalry, infantry, and artillery were shaken together as in 
a glass. Here infantry preponderated, here mad horses, larger than 
nature, appeared to rear in the smoke, and here panting men tried 
to drag away the guns. Here were the wounded, here were shouting 
and crying, here were officers, impassioned, rallying, appealing, 
coercing, and here were the half-sobbing answers of their men. 
"Lost, lost! "said in effect the answers of the men. "Lost,lost! You, 
the leaders, know it, and we know it. You would lead us to noble 
death, but we must keep to life if we can. We have fought very 
well, and now we are tired, and there is something to be said for 
knowing when you are beaten and trying another tack." — 
"Lost, lost!" said the shot and shell. "Lost, lost!" said the wind 
whistling from the sabres of Merritt's charging cavalry. "Lost, 
lost!" said the autumn night. "Lost, lost!" said the dust on the 
Valley Pike. 

Steve tried to get taken on in an ambulance, but the surgeon in 
charge first laid practised fingers around his wrist, and then told 
him to go to hell — in short to walk to hell — and leave ambulances 



THE VALLEY 387 

for hurt folks. " Gawd! " thought Steve, " 'n' I saved this army on 
theroadtoBuford's!" 

Night came on, night without and night within. The outer night 
was a night of stars. Myriads and myriads, they showed, star clouds 
in the Milky Way, and scattered stars in the darker spaces. The 
air was very clear, and the starshine showed the road — the long, 
palely gleaming, old, old, familiar road. Within, the night was dark, 
dark! and peopled with broken hopes. Tramp, tramp I ontheYaWey 
Pike. Tramp, tramp 1 with sore and tired feet, with hot and tired 
hearts. Tramp, tramp 1 and all the commands werejbroken, officers 
seeking for their men and men for their officers, a part of one regi- 
ment marching with a part of another, all the moulds cracked. 
Tramp, tramp 1 Tramp, tramp I and fathers were weeping silently for 
sons, and sons for their fathers, and brothers for brothers, and many 
for their country. Tramp, tramp I and there came a vision of the 
burning Valley, and of Atlanta burning, burning, for not one house, 
said the dispatches, had Sherman left standing, and a vision of the 
trenches at Petersburg, and a vision of Richmond, Richmond per- 
haps crashing down in ruin to-night, wall and pillar, and the flames 
going up. Tramp, tramp I and a flame of wrath came into the march- 
ing hearts, welcome because it warmed, welcome because anger and 
hate gave at least a strength, like a pale reflex of the strength of love, 
welcome because before it fled the shadows of weakness, and in it 
despair grew heroic. Now the men, exhausted as they were, would 
have turned, and gone back and struck Sheridan. Tramp, tramp I 
Tramp, tramp I and there came a firmness into the sound. Through- 
out the night, now it came and now it went, and now it came again. 

The night went by, though it was long in going. Dawn came, 
though it was slow in coming. When it was light we saw Massa- 
nutten, and the north fork of Shenandoah, and Fisher's Hill. "This 
is a good place to stand," said Early, and began to build breastworks. 
In the afternoon up came Sheridan, somethiag over twice as many- 
numbered as the grey, and all flushed with victory, and took his 
stand on Cedar Creek, several miles from Fisher's Hill. All day the 
twenty-first and part of the twenty-second he reconnoitred, and in 
the night-time of the twenty-fiirst he placed Crook and the Army of 
West Virginia in the deep forest between Little North Mountain 
and the Confederate left. They stayed there hidden imtil nearly 



388 CEASE FIRING 

sundown of the twenty-second. Then he brought them out in a 
flank attack, so sudden and so swift! . . . And at the same moment 
all his legions struck against the centre. 

Steve heard the cry, " Flanked ! — We are flanked ! " He witnessed 
the rush of arms, and then he waited not to see defeat — which 
came. He fled at once. Halfway to Woodstock he stopped at a 
Dunkard's house, where an old, long-bearded man gave him a piece 
of bread and asked no questions, but sat looking at him with dreamy, 
disapproving eyes. " Yes, the soldier could sleep here, although to 
be a soldier was to be a great sinner." Steve did not care for that. 
He slept very well for an hour on the floor of a small bare room above 
the porch. At the end of that time he was awakened by a sound 
upon the pike. He sat up, then went on all fours across to the win- 
dow and put out his head. " Gawd! they're comin' up the pike — 
retreatin'l" He felt a wild indignation. "The Second Corps ain't 
any more what it used to be! Retreatin' every whipstitch like it's 
beendoin'." Tramp , tramp ! Tramp, trampi He heard them through 
the dark, clear night, growing loud now upon the limestone pike. 
"Well, I ain't a-goin' along! I'm tireder than any dawgl — 'n' 
hurt besides." He lay down beneath the window and shut his eyes. 
But he could not keep the sound out, nor a picture of the column 
from winding through his brain. "They ain't got any shoes, 'n' 
they're gettin' so ragged, 'n' hunger-pinched. They're gettin' 
hunger-pinched. They've fought 'n' fought till they're most at a 
standstill. They 've fought mighty hard. Ain't anybody ever fought 
any harder. But now they're tired — awful tired. No shoes, 'n' 
ragged, 'n' hunger-pinched — Coffin, 'n' Allan, 'n' Billy, 'n' Dave, 
'n' Jim Watts, 'n' Bob White, 'n' Reynolds, 'n' all of them. Even 
Zip the coon'shunger-pinched. They Ve all gotlarge eyes, 'n' they've 
fought most to a standstill, 'n' the flags are gettin' heavy to 
carry. . . ." Tramp, trampi Tramp, tramp t He dozed and heard 
the gun-wheels in a half dream, crossing a bridge withahollowsound. 
Wheels and wheels and a hollow sound. Memory played him a trick. 
He was lying in a miry, weedy ditch under a small bridge on the road 
between Middletown and Winchester. The guns were passing over 
his head, rumble, rumble, rumble! And then a plank broke and a gun- 
wheel came down and tried to knock him into Kingdom Come. . . . 
He woke fully with a violent start and the sweat cold upon his 



THE VALLEY 389 

body. . . . The column was directly passing, — he heard voices, 
marching feet, officers' orders, wheels, hoofs, marching feet, voices, 
— all distant, continuous sound broken, become a loud, immediate, 
choppy sea. "Go on!" whispered Steve. "Go on! I ain't a-goin' 
with you." 

The column went on, marching by the httle dark and silent house, 
on up the pike, beneath the stars, toward Woodstock, and some 
pause perhaps beyond. It moved so near that Steve heard at times 
what the soldiers said. He gathered that Fisher's Hill was a word 
of gloom and would remain so. On it went, on it went, untU from 
van to rear ten thousand men had passed. And then, as the sound 
of the sea was lessening, a knot of officers drew up almost beneath 
the window. They spoke in slow, tired, dragging voices. "Orders 
are no halt until we 've passed Woodstock. — Six miles yet. Where 
then? I do not know. — Fight again? Yes, of course — fight to the 
bitter end! I don't suppose it's far off. — Here's Berkeley. Well, 
what's the news. Captain?" 

" Sheridan 's after us, sir. . . . Listen!" 

They listened. "Yes. . . . Coming up the pike. ... I should 
say he has thirty thousand infantry and as many horse as we have 
of all three arms. Well ! let the curtain ring down. We ' ve made good 
drama." 

When they were gone, Steve rose and leaned cautiously out of 
the window. Yes, he could hear the Yankees, he could hear them 
coining. They were far off, but they were coming, coming. — 
A light burst forth in the night, in the north, then another 
and another. "They're firin' bams and houses as they pass." — 
Below him rose a final clatter of horses' hoofs, voices, curt orders, 
oaths — the grey rear guard drawing off, following the main body. 
Steve ran downstairs and outinto the road. He stopped a horseman. 
" For Gawd's sake, comrade, take me on behind you ! I marched with 
the boys till I just dropped, 'n' I said, ' Go on, 'n' maybe a horse or 
a wagon 'U be good to me.' — I got a sore hurt in the leg — " 

"AJl right," said the horseman. "Get up!" and they went on up 
the pike with the sky red behind them, and night before. "It's most 
the end, I reckon." 

Woodstock — and a halt below atNarrow Passage — then on a 
windy, dusty day to New Market, while Sheridan paused and fin- 



390 CEASE FIRING 

ally went into camp at Mount Jackson — then aside from the Valley 
Pike, eastward by the Port Republic road — then into the great 
shady amphitheatre of Brown's Gap — and here quiet at last, quiet 
and rest. Again it was an old, old camping-ground. The Second 
Corps stared, sombre-eyed, with faces that worked. "Old Jube is 
all right — but, O God, for Stonewall Jackson!" 

Weeks went by. The woods changed, indeed. The leaves bright- 
ened and brightened, and now they began to fall in every wind. To 
and fro, forth from the gaps of the Blue Ridge and back to their 
shelter, moved the Army of the Valley, to and fro — to and fro. In 
these days came Kershaw, sent by Lee — twenty-seven hundred 
infantry and Cutshaw's battery. The Second Corps welcomed 
South Carolina. "You're the fiery boys! 'Come, give us a song 
to cheer!' — Never have forgotten how you taught us to cook rice! 
— in the first century, along about First Manassas. Never have 
forgotten, but the commissary's out of rice." 

In these days Sheridan, keeping his main force between New Mar- 
ket and Woodstock, began with that great force of Torbert's cavalry 
to harry the Valley as it had not yet been harried. He wrecked the 
Central Railroad and burned bridges and sent the Confederate 
stores at Staunton up in flames. That was all right; that was un- 
derstood — but Sheridan stopped there as little as would Attila have 
done. Before winter came, he swept the Valley bare as Famine's 
hand; he made it so bare that he said himself, "A crow, flying 
over the Valley of Virginia, would have had to take his rations with 
him." 

A Uttle past the middle of October Early determined to attack. 
With Kershaw and with Rosser's small reinforcement of cavalry, he 
could bring into the field a force little more than a third the size of 
the blue army now lined up behind Cedar Creek. But forage and 
supplies were gone ; it was risk all or lose all. " ' Beggars must not be 
choosers,' " said Early, and the Second Corps went back to the Val- 
ley Pike and marched toward Fisher's Hill. It marched through a 
country where all was burned, — houses, mills, barns, wheat and 
straw and hay, wagons and farm implements, smithies, country stores 
and hostelries, — all, all charred and desolate. It saw women and 
children, crouching for warmth against blackened chimney-stacks. 

It marched hungry itself and now with tattered clothing — all 



THE VALLEY 391 

the small divisions, the small brigades, the small regiments — all 
the defenders of the Valley, taking now so little room on the Valley 
Pike. It marched with a fringe of stragglers, with a body of the sick 
and straggling bringing up the rear. Nowadays men straggled who 
had never done that before; nowadays men deserted who were not 
deserters by nature. And mostly these deserted because a cry, in- 
sistent and wild, reached them from home. "Starving! We are 
starving and homeless. I, your mother, am crying for bread! — 
I, your wife, am crying for bread! — We, your children, are crying 
for bread! We are sick — we are dying — we will never see you 
again — " 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

CEDAR CREEK 

ON the eighteenth of October, the grey being again drawn up 
atFisher'sHill, Gordon, with General ClementEvans and Jed 
Hotchkiss and Major Hunter of Gordon's staff, dimbed Mas- 
sanutten, overhanging the Confederate right. Up here, on the craggy 
mountain brow, high in the blue air, resting a moment amid red 
scrub oak and yellow hickory, they looked forth. They saw the 
wonderful country, the coloured forest falling, slope after slope, 
from their feet, the clear-flowing Shenandoah, Cedar Creek wind- 
ing between hills, and on these hills they saw with their field-glasses 
Sheridan's army. "Not only," says Gordon, "did we see the general 
outlines of Sheridan's breastworks, but every parapet where his 
heavy guns were mounted, and every piece of artillery, every wagon 
and tent and supporting line of troops. ... I could count, and 
did count, the number of his guns. I could see distinctly the three 
colours of trimmings on the jackets respectively of infantry, artil- 
lery, and cavalry, and locate each, while the number of flags gave a 
basis for estimating approximately the forces with which we were 
to contend in the proposed attack." 

Down went Gordon and reported to Early. "We can turn his 
flank, sir. We can come with one spring upon his left and rear. 
Demonstrate right and centre where he is formed to repel us, but 
strike him on the left where he is n't! He thinks he's got there for 
shield an impassable mountain and a river." 

Early swore. " Well, is n't the mountain impassable? It looks it. 
It's precipitous." 

"No. There's a very narrow path. Start at nightfall and we can 
cross the corps, single-file, by dawn." 

Early swore again, but in the end approved. " ! It's a des- 
perate game, but then we're desperate gamesters! ! All right. 

General! Get your men ready." 

The red-gold day drew to a close. Through all the Second Corps 




THE SCOUT 



CEDAR CREEK 3^3 

there ran an undefined tremor, a beat of hope, a feeling as of, per- 
haps, — God knew! — better things at last! Supperless men looked 
almost fed. With the shining-out of the evening star the Second 
Corps began to move across the face of Massanutten. The way was 
narrow. Above sprang the mountain heights, below rolled the 
Shenandoah. Soldier followed in soldier's footsteps, very silently, 
sure-footed, under orders not to speak. Ragged and grey and silent, 
their gun-barrels faintly gleaming, they went along, high on the side 
of Massanutten, along, thin, moving thread, moving all night in the 
autimin wind. Steve was of it, of it because he could not help him- 
self. He had tried — he certainly had tried hard, as he told himself 
with water in his eyes — but Dave Maydew had adopted him, and 
would n't let him out of his sight. Now he was moving between 
Dave and Jim Watts — and he was n't let to speak — and he heard 
Shenandoah brawling, brawling down below — and the world was 
lonesomer than lonesome! There were to-night a number of shoot- 
ing stars. There was something awful in the height of the sky and 
in the appearance and disappearance of these swift lights. Steve 
felt an imaginative horror. The end of the world began to trouble 
him, and a query as to when it was going to happen. " Maybe it's 
goin' to happen sooner 'n we think!" 

Ahead, where there was a buttress of cliff, very evident from where 
the Sixty-fifth moved in a concave filled with shadow, occurred a 
gash across the footpath which made it dangerous. This side of the 
shoulder was well hidden from any blue picket across the water. A 
torch had been lighted and was now held close to the earth, so that 
eyes might read and feet might safely cross the gash in the way. 
The red, smoky, upstreaming light just showed each passing soldier. 
The Golden Brigade moved forward, regiment by regiment. The 
Sixty-fifth yet halted in the hollow of the mountain, recognized 
Cleave as he stood a moment bathed in the red light. There was a 
sound of satisfaction. "We're all right. We're going to win some 
more." 

Over the face of Massanutten went the Second Corps — over in 
silence and safety — over and on to the woods beside Shenandoah, 
Here the divisions were halted, here they lay down on the fallen 
leaves and waited. They heard the river, they heard the voices of 
the blue vedettes upon the farther side. They waited — all the 



394 CEASE FIRING 

ragged grey troops — Ij^ng on the leaves, in the cold hour before the 
dawn. They were very hungry, very tired. Some of them slept; 
others lay and thought and thought, or looked at pictures in the 
dark. Steve still watched the shooting stars, still thought of the 
Judgment Day. He was conscious of a kind of exaltation. "I'm 
gettin' to be a fighter with the best of them!" 

The lines of grey rose from the moss and leaves. A cold and pallid 
light was in the forest. Ahead broke out shouting, and then a rapid 
carbine firing. Payne and his cavalry were on the bank of Shenan- 
doah, midstream in Shenandoah, — on the farther bank, — in touch, 
like lightning before the storm, with the blue vedettes and mounted 
supports! Fallin! FallinI — Forward! 

How cold was the water of Shenandoah! North Carolina and 
Georgia troops and Terry's brigade, that held within it most of the 
fragments of the old Stonewall Brigade, were the first to enter. Be- 
hind came all the others, the mass of the Second Corps. Cold was the 
October water, — cold, deep, and rushing fast to the sea. Over it, 
holding high every musket, went the Second Corps, and made no 
tarrying, formed in the thickening light in the woods whfere the blue 
outposts had been, formed and went forward at a run, led by the din 
of the cavalry ahead. Not only the cavalry, for now they heard 
Kershaw thundering upon the front. Everywhere noise arose and 
tore the solemn dawn. The woods opened, there came a sense of 
cleared spaces, and then a vision of a few breastworks, — not many, 
for Sheridan had not thought his army could be turned, — of ser- 
ried tents, of a headquarters flag, of a great park of bubbly, white- 
topped wagons, of the rear, in short, of the Army of the Shenandoah. 
It showed a scene of vast and sudden confusion and noise; it buzzed 
like an overturned hive. " Yaaihhh I Yaaiihhh I Yaaaaiiiihhh!" 
rang the yell of the Second Corps. 

It struck so fierce and it struck so fell, while in front Kershaw 
and Rosser aided so ably — the bees all left the hive and, save 
those who were struck to the ground and they were many, and those 
v.rho were captured and they were many, streamed to the northward 
in a strange panic. They dashed from the tents where they had been 
sleeping; with the sleep yet in their eyes they poured across the fields. 
They left the wide camp, left arms, knapsacks, clothing, and their 
huge supplies. They "possessed not even a company organization," 



CEDAR CREEK 395 

but crying, as the grey had cried, hereabouts, a month before, 
" Flanked ! We are flanked !" the Eighth and Nineteenth Corps, taken 
with madness, hurried northward by the pike and by the fields. It 
was a rout that for a time savoured of the old, old First Manassas 
rout. The blue, as the grey, were brave enough, — no one by now 
in this war doubted blue courage or grey courage, — but to be 
flanked at dawn was to be flanked at dawn, and brave men or not 
brave men, and however often in this war you had outgazed her, 
smiled her from the field. Panic Fear was yet a giantess of might! 
Now or then, here or there, in a blue moon, she had her innings. 

The Sixth Corps on the right stood fast. Gordoil proposed to 
mass the grey artillery against it, then to attack with infantry. "At 
this moment," he says, "General Early came upon the field and 
said, 'Well, Gordon, this is glory enough for one day! This is the 
nineteenth. Precisely one month ago to-day we were going in the 
opposite direction.' . . . I pointed to the Sixth Corps and explained 
the movements I had ordered, which I felt sure would compass the 
captxure of that corps — certainly its destruction. When I had fin- 
ished, he said, 'No use in that. They will all go directly.' * That is 
the Sixth Corps, General. It will not go unless we drive it from the 
field.' 'Yes, it will go, too, directly.'" 

Down went Gordon's heart, down, down! "And so," he says, "it 
came to pass that the fatal halting, the hesitation, the spasmodic 
firing and the isolated movements in the face of the sullen, slow, 
and orderly retreat of the superb Federal corps, lost us the great 
opportunity." 

Jubal Early thinks otherwise and says so. He says that the posi- 
tion of the Sixth Corps was very strong and not to be attacked on 
the left because the approach was over open, boggy groimd, swept 
by the blue artillery. He did attack on the right, but just as Ram- 
seur and Pegram were advancing to occupy an evacuated position, 
the enemy's great force of cavalry began to press heavily on the 
right, and Pegram was sent to the north of Middletown to take 
position across the pike and oppose this force. Kershaw and Gor- 
don's commands were broken and took time to re-form. Lomax had 
not arrived. Rosser, on the left, had all he could do barely to hold 
in check the cloud of threatening cavalry. The enemy had taken up 
a new position north of Middletown. Early now, the morning ad- 



2,96 CEASE FIRING 

vanciiig, ordered Gordon, he says, "to take position on Kershaw's 
left and advance with the purpose of driving the enemy from his new 
position — Kershaw and Ramseur being ordered to advance at the 
same time." He continues: " As the enemy's cavalry on our left was 
very strong, and had the benefit of an open country to the rear of 
that flank, a repulse at this time would have been disastrous, and I 
therefore directed General Gordon, if he found the enemy's line too 
strong to attack with success, not to make the assault. The advance 
was made for some distance, when Gordon's skirmishers came back 
reporting a line of battle in front behind breastworks, and General 
Gordon did not make the attack. It was now apparent that it would 
not do to press my troops farther. They had been up all night 
and were much jaded. In passing over rough ground to attack the 
enemy in the early morning their own ranks had been much disor- 
dered, and the men scattered, and it required time to re-form them. 
Their ranks, moreover, were much thinned by the absence of men 
engaged in plundering the enemy's camps. . . . The delay . . . 
had enabled the enemy to rally a portion of his routed troops, and 
his immense force of cavalry, which remained intact, was threaten- 
ing both of our flanks in an open country, which of itself rendered 
an advance extremely hazardous. I determined, therefore, to try 
and hold what had been gained." 

Now Gordon was a generous, chivalrous, bold, and devoted soldier. 
And Jubal Early was a bold and devoted man and a general of no 
mean ability. Which was right and which was wrong, or how largely 
both were right, will, perhaps, be never known. But hard upon 
Early's slur upon the conduct of the troops, his repeated statement 
that they were too busy plundering to go forward, there comes an 
indignant cry of denial. Says Clement Evans, " My command was 
not straggling and plundering." And General Battle, "I never saw 
troops behave better than ours did at Cedar Creek." And General 
Wharton, "It is true that there were parties passing over the field 
and perhaps pillaging, but most of these were citizens, teamsters, 
and persons attached to the quartermaster's and other departments, 
and perhaps a few soldiers who had taken the wounded to the rear. 
No, General; the disaster was not due to the soldiers leaving their 
commands and pillaging." And another officer, "The men went 
through a camp just as it was deserted, with hats, boots, blankets, 



CEDAR CREEK 397 

tents, and such things as tempt our soldiers scattered over it, and 
after diligent enquiry I heard of but one man who even stopped 
to pick up a thing. He got a hat and has charges preferred against 
him." And one of the grey chaplains, who says that he was a free- 
lance that day, and all over the field from rear to front, "It is true 
that many men straggled and plundered; but they were men who in 
large numbers had been wounded in the summer's campaign, who 
had come up to the army for medical examination, and who came 
like a division down the pike behind Wharton, and soon scattered 
over the field and camps and helped themselves. They were soldiers 
more or less disabled and not on duty. This body I myself saw as they 
came on the battle-field and scattered. They were not men with guns. 
But there can be no doubt that General Early mistook them for men 
who had fallen out of ranks." And Gordon, " Many of the dead com- 
manders left on record their testimony; and it is true, I think, that 
every living Confederate oflEicer who commanded at Cedar Creek a 
corps, or division, or brigade, or regiment, or company would testify 
that his men fought with unabated ardour, and did not abandon 
their places in line to plunder the captiu-ed camps." 

So the Army of the Valley that is about to go down to defeat need 
not go there with any imputation of misconduct. Let us say instead 
that it continued to do well. 

And now it stands there waiting for orders to advance, for orders 
to go into battle, to engage the Sixth Corps, and now the day is 
growing old, and now Crook and Wright, far down the Valley Pike, 
begin to check the fleeing masses of the Eighth and Nineteenth, to 
bring them into something more than company organization, and 
to force them to listen to talk of going back and retrieving . . . 
and now news comes to Sheridan himself who had slept the night of 
the eighteenth in Winchester. 

As he mounted his horse there came a confused rumour of dis- 
aster; as, a hard rider, he thundered out of Winchester with twenty 
miles to make, the wind brought him faintly the din of distant 
battle. He bent to the horse's neck and used the spur. About nine 
o'clock, south of Winchester, "the head of the fugitives appeared in 
sight, trains and men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity." 
His followers did what they could to stop the torrent ; he galloped on. 

The day wore away, the grey under arms, but inactive, waiting 



398 CEASE FIRING 

— waiting. Upon the top of Massanutten, in a wine-hued world 
above the smoke and clamour, was a grey signal station, and it sig- 
nalled the Army of the Valley below. It signalled first, " The enemy 
hashalted and isre-forming." It signalled second, "They arecoming 
back by the pike and neighbouring roads." It signalled third, "The 
enemy's cavalry has checked General Rosser, and assumed the offen- 
sive." It signalled fourth, "The enemy, in heavy column, is coming 
up the pike." 

The rallied Eighth and Nineteenth Corps, Sheridan at their head, 
came back and joined the steadfast Sixth. Together they gave battle 
to the grey who had waited for this strange hour. In it the tables 
were' turned. Command after command, the grey were broken. 
There was a gap in the line, left who knew how? Through it like a 
river in freshet roared the blue. 

It beat upon Steve's brain like waves of hell, that battle. The 
Sixty-fifth had held him like a vise; not for one moment had he es- 
caped. In the midst of plenty he was not let to plunder; in the face 
of danger he was not somehow able to fall out, to straggle, or to 
malinger. All his talents seemed to desert him. Perhaps Dave May- 
dew had him really under observation, or perhaps he only fancied 
that that was the case. He was afraid of Dave. Through the fore- 
noon, indeed, hope sustained him. The Yankees had run away, and 
though the Golden Brigade with others shifted its place, moving 
from left to right, and though, beside the first great onset, it came 
sharply several times into touch with the foe, it, too, under division 
orders, must end in waiting, waiting. Steve was convinced that the 
Yankees were too frightened to come back, and that presently there 
would be broken ranks and permission to the men to help themselves 
in moderation. The hope kept him cheerful, despite the grxunbling 
of the Sixty-fifth. " Why don't we go forward ? What are we wait- 
ing here for? We 're losing time, — and losing it to fAew. Why don't 
we — What are they signalling up there on the mountain? " — And 
then burst the storm and hope went out. 

The lantern slides shifted rapidly — now black, now fearful, vivid 
pictures. For what seemed an eternity Steve did tear cartridges, 
load and fire with desperation. A black ring came round his mouth; 
the sweat poured down, his chest heaved beneath his ragged shirt. 
Fire 1 — Fire 1 — Fire 1 — Fire 1 And all to right and left was the 



CEDAR CREEK 399 

Sixty-fifth, fighting grimly, and beyond, the balance of the Golden 
Brigade, fighting grimly. He saw Dave Maydew sink to his knees, 
and then forward upon his hands, and at last roll over and lie dead 
with a quiet face. He saw Sergeant Billy Maydew, passing down the 
line, pause just a moment when he saw Dave. "I reckon I'll be 
coming, too, directly, Dave," said Billy, then went on with his duty. 
He saw Allan, tall and strong and fair, set in a great smoke wreath 
firing steadily. Fire ! — Fire 1 — Fire I — Fire ! There rose a ques- 
tion of ammimition. Jim Watts was one of those who went for cart- 
ridges and brought them while the air was a shriek of shells. Steve 
saw the cartridge-bearers askance, coming, earnest-faced, through 
the cloud — then the cloud grew red-bosomed, and he saw them 
no more. He heard a voice, " Fix bayonets 1 " and he saw Cleave, dis- 
mounted, leading the charge. He went with the Sixty-fifth; he could 
not help it; he had in effect nm amuck. He felt the uneven ground 
beneath his feet like a rhythm, and the shrieking of the minies became, 
for the first and only time in his life, a siren's song. Then through 
the smoke came a loom of forms; he saw the blue cavalry bearing 
down, many and fast. Halt! — Left Face! Fire! — but on they came, 
for all the emptied saddles. A thousand cjonbals clashed in the air, 
a thousand forms, gigantic in the reek, towered before the vision; 
there came a chaos of voices, appalled or triumphant, a frightful 
heat, a pressure, a roaring in the brain. Steve saw Richard Cleave 
where he fell, desperately wounded, he saw the Golden Brigade, he 
saw the Sixty-fifth Virginia broken and dashed to pieces. With the 
cry of a Thimder Run creature in a trap, he caught at the reins of 
the horse that reared above him, red-nostrilled, with eyes of fire. Its 
rider, a tall and powerful man with yellow mustaches, bending side- 
ways, cut at him with asabre. Steve, a gash across each arm, dropped 
the bridle. The horse's hoof struck him on the forehead, and the 
world went down in a black and roaring sea. 

When he came to himself it was dark. The smoke hung heavy 
and there was the taste and scent of the battle-field. At first there 
seemed no noise, then he heard the groaning and the sighing. 
The greater noise, the thunder and shouting, had, however, rolled 
away. He raised himself on his elbow, and then he sat up and 
rested his head on his knees. He was deadly sick and shivering. As 
little by little his wits came back, he began to draw conclusions. 



400 CEASE FIRING 

There had been a battle — now he remembered — and the army 
was beaten. . . . He listened now in reality and he heard, far up 
the pike and across the fields, in the darkness, the sound of retreat 
and pursuit. It made a wall of sound, stretching east and west, roll- 
ing southward, going farther and farther away, dwindling at last 
into a hollow murmur, leaving behind it the bitter, pungent night, 
and the sounds as near at hand as crickets in the grass. Water — 
water — water — water ... God I — God I — God I 
■ Steve rose uncertainly. His tongue, too, was swollen with thirst. 
He saw lights wavering over the field, and here and there a flare 
where camp followers had built themselves a fire. There reached his 
ears a burst of harsh laughter, then from some quarter where there 
was pillaging a drunken quarrel. The regularly moving lights were, 
he knew, gatherers of the wounded. A shrill crying from a hollow 
where was a red glare proclaimed a field hospital. • But the gather- 
ers of the wounded were clothed in blue. They would touch no grey 
wounded until their own were served, and then, if events allowed 
them to minister, they would prove but lifters and forwarders to 
Northern prisons. Steve, swaying as he stood, stared at the bob- 
bing lights. He was dead from hunger, tortured with thirst, and his 
hesid ached and ached from the blow of the horse's hoof. A thought 
came to him. If he told the bobbing lights that he loved the North 
and would fight for it in a blue coat, then, maybe, things would 
happen like a full canteen and a handful of hard-tack and a long 
and safe sleep beside one of those camp-fires. He started toward 
the lights. Water! — Water I — Water I — Water/ cried the plain. 
Ahhkhl Aaahhhl Water! 

Somewhere out of starveling and poor soil there pushed upward 
in the soul of Steve, came into a murky and muddy light, and there 
flowered, though after a tarnished and niggard sort, a something 
that first stayed his steps, then turned them away from the bobbing 
lights. It was not a strong growth, but the flower of it rubbed his 
eyes so that he saw Thunder Run rather than Northern plenty, and 
the haggard, fleeing grey army rather than a turned coat. He did 
not feel virtuous as he had done when he saved the army from the 
" avalanche," he only felt homesick and wretched and horribly suf- 
fering. When at a few paces he came to a deep gully and slipped and 
slid down its side to the bottom, where he was safe from the lights 



CEDAR CREEK 401 

and from the thrust of some plimdererof the dead, — or the wounded 
whom they often, as safest,* made the dead, — he found here 
beside him his old companion. Fear. Before this, on the day of Cedar 
Creek, from dawn to dusk, he had hardly once been afraid. Now he 
was — he was horribly afraid. There was long grass at the bottom of 
the gully, and he hoped for a runlet of some sort. He dragged himself 
along, hands and breast, until he felt mud, and then more and more 
moisture, until at last there came a puddle out of which he drank 
and drank as though he would never stop. It was too dark to see 
how bloody it was, and not even after moving his arm a little to the 
left and encountering the body of a soldier, did he cease to drink. 
His own arms were yet bleeding from the sabre cut and he was so 
diz2y that even here, with the lanterns all left behind, there were 
lights in the night like will-o'-the-wisps. 

But the water, such as it was, put some spirit into him. Hands 
and knees, he crept down the floor of the gully until it deepened and 
widened into a ravine. Finally it led him to the creek side. Here, 
half in, half out of the water, was something that he put his foot 
upon for a log, but discovered to be the body of a man. Having rea- 
soned that in this locality it would not improbably be the body of a 
blue vedette, Steve took it by the legs and drew it quite out upon 
the miry bank. He was correct, and there was a haversack, and in 
it bread and slices of meat. Steve, squatting in the mire, ate it all, 
then drank of the creek. He was dead for sleep; there had been none 
the night before, clambering along the face of Massanutten, and not 
too much the night before that; dead for sleep, and more tired than 
any dog. . . . He stood up, gazing haggardly into the night beyond 
the creek, then shook his head, and dropped upon the soft earth 
beside the dead vedette. It seemed to him that he had hardly closed 
his eyes when he heard a bugle and then the sound of trotting horse. 
"Cavalry comin' this way — Damn them to hell!" He staggered 
to his feet and down into the stream, crossed it somehow, and went 
Tip the farther bank, and on through forest and field, over stock and 
stone. He went away from the pike. "For I never want to see it 
again. It'sha'nted." 

He went westward toward the mountains, and he walked all night 
over stock and stone and briar. Day broke, wan and sickly. It 
showed him a rough country, rising steeply to the wilder mountains. 



402 CEASE FIRING 

rough and so sparsely inhabited that he did not see a house. He 
went on, swaying now in his gait, and presently by the rising sun 
he saw a sloping field, ragged and stony and covered with a poor 
stand of corn, and at the top a fairish log cabin set against a pine 
wood. A curl of smoke was coming from the chimney. 

Steve stumbled up the hillside and through a garden path to a 
crazy porch overhung by a gourd vine. Here a lean mountain woman 
met him. " Better be keerful ! " she said. " The dawg 's awful fierce ! 
Here, dawg!" 

The dog came, bristling. Steve retreated a few steps. "I ain't 
nothin' but apoor Confederate soldier! — 'n' I'm jest aboutdeadfor 
hunger 'n' tiredness. There 's been an awful big battle 'n' I got my 
wounds. If you 'd Jest let me rest a bit here, ma'am, 'n', for God's 
sake, give me somethin' to eat — " 

"Well," said the woman, "you kin rest, an' then you kin pay by 
helpin' me stack the corn. My husband was killed over in Hamp- 
shire, bushwhackin', an' the dawg an' I an' a gun air livin' together." 

Steve slept all day in the lean-to, beneath a quilt of bright patch- 
work. He had cornbread and a chicken for supper, and then he 
wrapped himself luxuriously in the quilt again and slept all night. 
The next day he helped the mountain woman stack the corn. 

" You live so out of the way," he said, "I don't reckon Sheridan '11 
never come burnin' 'n' slayin' up here ! You got chickens 'n' a cow 'n' 
the fat of the land." 

"It air a peaceful mountain," agreed the woman. "I ain't never 
seen a Yankee an' I don't know as I want to. Thar's a feud on be- 
tween the folks in the Cove an' the folks on Deer Mountain, but my 
husband was a Hampshire man, an' I'm out of it. Don't nobody 
give me any trouble an' I get along. Yaas, the cow's a good milker 
an' I got a pig an' plenty of chickens." 

"Don't you get lonesome, livin' this way by yourself — 'n' you a 
fine-lookin' woman, too?" 

"Ami fine-lookin'? " said the mountain woman. "I never knew 
that before." 

They stacked the corn all day, and at dark Steve had another 
chicken and more cornbread and an egg for supper. 

" Tell me about your folks," said the woman, " an' how life 's done 
you, an' about soldiering." 



CEDAR CREEK 403 

They sat on either side of the hearth, for the night was cold, and 
■while the hickory log blazed, and the mountain woman used snuff, 
Steve indulged in a rhodomontade that did him credit. 

" But I ain't sure I '11 go soldierin' any more," he closed. " Savin' 
the army 'n' all's enough. I got a honourable discharge." 

The mountain woman dipped a bit of hazel twig again into the 
small round tin box of snuff. She was not much older than Steve, 
and, in a gaunt way, not bad-looking. "An' you ain't married?" 

" Naw. I ain't never found any one to suit me — at least, till 
recently I thought I had n't." 

In the lean-to, when he had rolled himself in the rising-sun quilt, 
he lay and looked out of the open door at the stars below the hilltop. 
"The army's beaten," he thought, "'n' the war's ended, or most 
ended. Anyhow it 's fightin' now without any chance of anythingbut 
dyin'." He sat up and rested his chin on his knees. "I ain't ready 
to die . . . Sheridan 's drivin' the Second Corps, 'n' the Sixty- 
fifth 's all cut to pieces 'n' melted away, 'n' Grant's batterin' down 
Petersbvurg 'n' gettin' ready to fall on Richmond. We're beaten, 'n' 
I know it, 'n' I ain't a-goin' back; 'n' I ain't a-goin' back to Thunder 
Run neither — not yet awhile! An' she's strong 'n' a good worker, 
^n' she 's got property, 'n' I 've seen a plenty worse-lookin'. Lucinda 
Heard was worse-lookin'." 

The next day they gathered apples, for the mountain woman said 
she would make apple butter. It was beautiful weather, mild and 
bright. Steve lay on the porch beneath the gourd vine and watched 
his hostess hang the kettle over the outdoor fire and bring water in 
a bucket from the spring and fill it. While the fire was burning she 
came and sat down on the porch edge. "When air you goin' away? " 

Steve grinned propitiatively. "Gawd knows I don't want to 
go away at all! I like it here fust-rate. — You ain't never told me 
your name ? " 

"My name's Cyrilla." 

"That's an awful pretty name," said Steve. "It's prettier 'n 
Christianna, 'n' Lucinda, 'n' a lot others I've heard." 

After supper they sat again on either side of the hearth, with a 
blazing hickory log between, and the mountain woman dipped snuff 
and Steve nursed his ankle. 

"It's this-a-way," he remarked after a silence in which the crick- 



404 CEASE FIRING 

ets chirped. "I've kind of thought it out. War kills men off right 
along. When they 're brave they get killed all the quicker, or they 
just get off by the skin of their teeth like I done. No matter how- 
strong, 'n' brave, 'n' enterprisin', 'n' volunterin' they are, they 
get killed, 'n' killed. Killed off jest the same 's the bees sting the best 
fruit. 'N' then what becomes of the country? It ain't populated 
'less 'n the rest of us — them that got off by the skin of their teeth 
like I did, 'n' them that ain't never gone in like some bomb-proofs 
I know — 'less 'n the rest of us acts our part ! That 's what war does. 
It 'liminates the kind that pushes to the front 'n' plants flags. 'N' 
then — as Living don't intend to drop off — what's the rest of us 
that 's left got to be? We got to be what I heard a preacher call ' seed- 
corn 'n' ancestors.' We got to marry 'n' people the earth. We 
ain'tkilled." Steve ceased to nurse his ankle, straightenedhislean red 
body, and widening his lips until his lean red jaws wrinkled, turned 
to his hostess. "Cyrilla. — That's a mighty pretty name. . . . 
Why should n't you 'n' me marry? You got a house 'n' I got a house, 
over in Blue Ridge on Thunder Run Mountain, 'n' I got a little real 
money, too! When the war's over we can go get it. — What d' ye 
say ? " 

CjTilla screwed on the top of the snuff-box. "I been right lone- 
some," she admitted. "But ef I marry you, you got to promise not 
to go bushwhackin'J You got to stay safe at home, 'n' you got to do 
what I tell you. I ain't goin' to have two husbands killed fightin' 
Yankees." 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 

ON August the thirty-first Hood fought and lost the battle of 
Jonesboro. On September the first he evacuated Atlanta, 
besieged now for forty days, bombarded and wrecked and 
ruined. On the second, with hurrahing, with music of bands and 
waving of flags, Sherman occupied the forlorn and shattered place. 
Forty thousand men, Hood and the Army of Tennessee lingered 
a full month in this region of Georgia, first around Lovejoy's 
Station, then at Palmetto. On the first of October they crossed the 
Chattahoochee. Four days later was fought the engagement of 
Allatoona. On northward went Hood over the old route that had 
been travelled — though in an opposite direction — in the spring 
and the early summer-time. Toward the middle of the month he 
was at Resaca, and a day or two after he captured a small garrison 
at Dalton. Behind him came, fast and furious, a blue host. He 
made a forced march west to Gadsden on the Coosa. He was now 
in Alabama and presently he marched past Decatur to Florence 
on the Tennessee. Sherman sent by rail Schofield and two army 
corps to Nashville, where was already George Thomas and his 
corps. The blue commanding general had now sixty thousand men 
in Tennessee, and sixty thousand in Georgia. To oppose these last 
there was left Wheeler's cavalry and Cobb's Georgia State troops. 
On the last day of October Hood crossed into Tennessee. Before 
him and his army lay now the thirtieth of November and the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth of December — lay the most disastrous battles 
of Franklin and Nashville. 

About the middle of September Sherman evicted the inhabitants 
of Atlanta. "I take the ground," he states upon the occasion, with 
the frankness that was an engaging trait in his character, "I take 
the ground that Atlanta is a conquered place, and I propose to 
use it purely for our own military purposes, which are inconsistent 
with its inhabitation by the families of a brave people. I am ship- 



4o6 CEASE FIRING 

ping them all, and by next Wednesday the town will be a real mil- 
itary town, with no women boring me every order I give." 

In mid-November, quitting the place, he burned it before he went. 
"Behind us," he remarks, "lay Atlanta, smouldering and in ruins, 
the black smoke rising high in air and hanging like a pall over the 
ruined city. . . . The men are marching steadily and rapidly with 
a cheery look and a swinging pace." 

Of his March to the Sea upon which he was now entered, he says, 
"Had General Grant overwhelmed and scattered Lee's Army and 
occupied Richmond he would have come to Atlanta; but as I hap- 
pened to occupy Atlanta first, and had driven Hood off to a diverg- 
ent line of operations far to the west, it was good strategy to leave 
him to a subordinate force and with my main army join Grant at 
Richmond. The most practicable route to Richmond was nearly a 
thousand miles in distance, too long for a single march; hence the 
necessity to reach the seacoast for a new base. Savannah, distant 
three hundred miles, was the nearest point, and this distance we 
accomplished from November 12th to December 21st." And he 
telegraphs to Grant that he will send back all his wounded and 
worthless and, with his effective army, "move through Georgia, 
smashing things to the sea." He kept his word. They were thor- 
oughly smashed. 

The men, marching "with a cheery look and a steady pace" list- 
ened to a General Order directing them to "forage liberally on the 
country," and "generally to so damage the country as to make it 
untenable to the enemy." They obeyed and made it untenable to 
all, including women and children, the sick and the old. They heard 
that their commander meant " to make Georgia howl," and they did 
what they could to further his wish. He states indeed — in a letter 
to his wife — that "this universal burning and wanton destruction 
of private property is not justified in war," and " I know all the prin- 
cipal officers detest the infamous practice as much as I do," but the 
practice went on — and he was commander. He left behind him, 
from north to south of a great State a swathe of misery, horror, and 
destruction fifty miles wide. There were good and gallant men in his 
legions, good and gallant men by the thousand, but " Sherman's 
bummers " went imchecked, and so far as is known, unrebuked. The 
swathe was undeniably there, and the insult and the agony and 



THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 407 

the horror. Georgia was "made to howl." "War is Hell," said 
Sherman, and is qualified to know whereof he speaks. 

In the mean time Hood had crossed the Tennessee in chilly, snowy- 
weather and was moving northward. The snow did not hold. The 
weather cleared and there came a season as of an autumnal after- 
glow. The sun shone bright though all the trees were bare. Forrest, 
recalled in this month from Mississippi, rode ahead of the army, 
then came the corps of Stephen D. Lee, — Hood's old corps, — of 
A. P. Stewart, and of Cheatham. The last was Hardee's old corps. 
Hardee himself, irreconcilably opposed to Hood and asking for 
transferral, had been sent to take command of the Department of 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Something more than forty 
thousand men, cavalry, infantry, and artillery, the Army of Tenn- 
essee pursued the late November road. It was a haggard and 
depleted army, but it could and did fight very grimly. 

Lawrenceburg — Mt. Pleasant — Columbia — and then the Duck 
River to cross. The night of the twenty-eighth the engineers laid 
the pontoon bridge. At dawn of the twenty-ninth the Army began 
to cross — slow work as always and masses of men waiting their 
turn around fires on the river bank. " Fire feels good ! Autumn dies 
cold like everything else. Wish I had a cup of coffee." — "Last 
time I had a cup of coffee — " — " O go to h — ! We 've heard that 
story before! Somebody tell a good story. J. H. you tell a story! 
Tell about the mule and the darkey and the bag of sugar — " 

Down to the water and over the pontoon bridge in the wintry 
dawn went the companies and the regiments. The fires on the bank 
blazed high, the soldiers talked. "A year ago was Missionary 
Ridge." — " Missionary Ridge ! " — " Missionary Ridge j " — " Mis- 
sionary Ridge was the place good missionaries never go to ! " — " We 
ran hard in hell, but we fought hard in hell, too. Fought hard — 
fought hard — " " Up on Lookout, and Cleburne holding the hollow 
ground — D' ye remember how the moon was sick that night ? " — 
"A year ago! It was awful long when you were little from Christ- 
mas to Christmas — but the length of a year nowadays is some- 
thing awful!" — "That's so! It's always long when so much hap- 
pens. I've seen men grow old from Missionary Ridge to Atlanta. 
I've seen men grow old from Atlanta to — what's the biggish 
place across the river? Franklin ? — Franklin, Tennessee." 



4o8 CEASE FIRING 

The light grew stronger — a winter Ught, cold and steel-like upon 
the flowing river and the moving stream of men. Fall in! Fall in I 
cried the sergeants, and the men about the fires left the red warmth, 

and stood in ranks waiting to move down to the water. " ! 

These crossings of rivers! ! Seeing that men have always 

warred and I reckon are always going to war, I don't see why Na- 
ture and God — if Nature 's got a god — did n't make the earth a 
smooth round battlefield where enemies could clinch just as easy 
and keep clinched till one or the other went over the edge of all 
things, and went down, down, past whatever stars were on that side! 
What's the use of scooping rivers and heaping mountains in the 
way ? Just a nice, smooth, black, eternal plain — with maybe one 
wide river to carry the blood away — " 

The soldiers, breaking step, crossed and crossed by the pontoon 
bridge. "The Duck River! — Quack! quack! — Franklin's on the 
Harpeth." "Benjamin Franklin or Franklin Pierce?" — "Benja- 
min was a peaceful kind of fellow for a revolutionary — did n't be- 
lieve in war! Neither did Jefferson. Not on general principles. 
Thought it barbarous. Fought on necessity, but believed in making 
necessity occur more rarely. Perfectly feasible thing! Necessity's 
much more malleable than we think. When we don't want it war 
won't be necessary." — "Want it! Do you reckon any one wants 
it ?" — "Lord, yes! until they've got it. — Of course there's some 
that likes it even after they've got it — but they're getting scarce." 
— "I don't know. Sometimes it's necessary, and sometimes it's 
good fun." — "Yes. A hard necessity and a savage pastime. 
'Patriotism'? There's a bigger phrase — ' Mother Earth and Fellow 
Men.' " — Column forward I 

On through the leafless country marched the somewhat tattered, 
somewhat shoeless Army of Tennessee. Tramp of feet and roll of 
wheels, tramp of feet and roll of wheels . . . "Listen! Firing ahead! 
That's Forrest!" The marching Army took up the praise of For- 
rest. " Forrest ! Forrest 's like Stonewall Jackson — always in front 
making personal observations." — "Forrest! If I was a company 
in trouble I'd rather see Forrest coming on King Phillip than King 
Arthur or the Angel Gabriel ! " — " Forrest ! Did you ever see Forrest 
rally his men? Draws a pistol and shoots a retreating colour- 
bearer — takes the colours and says ' Come on ! ' " — "Forrest 's had 



THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 409 

twenty-five horses killed under him." — " Did you ever hear him ad- 
dress his men? He's an orator born. It gets to be music. It gets 
grammatical — it gets to be great sonorous poetry." — "Yes, it 
does. I've heard him. And then an hour after I've heard him tell 
an officer 'Yes, that mought do ' and 'It's got to be fit.' — And I've 
heard him say he never saw a pen but he thought of a snake." — 
"Forrest? You fellows talking about Forrest? Did you hear what 
Forrest said about tactics? Said he'd 'give more for fifteen min- 
utes of bulgethanfor a week of tactics.' " — "Don't care! He's right 
good at tactics himself. Murfreesboro and Streight 's Raid and other 
places and times without niunber! 'Whenever you see anything 
blue,' he says, 'shoot at it, and do all you can to keep up the scare! ' 
Somebody told me he said about Okalona, ' Saw Grierson make a 
bad move, and then I rode right over him.' Tactics! Says it 's his 
habit 'to git thar first with the most men.' That's tactics! — and 
strategics — and bulge — and the art of War! " — " Old Jack him- 
self did n't know more about flanking than Forrest does." — "Did 
you hear what the old lady said to him at Cowan's Station?" — 
"No. What did she say?" — "Well, he and his men were kind of 
sauntering at a gallop through the place with a few million Yankees 
at their heels. The old lady did n't like men in grey to do that-a- 
way, so out she runs into the middle of the street, and spreads her_ 
skirts, and stops dead short, unless he was going to run over her, a. 
big grey horse and a six-feet-two cavalryman with eyes like a hawk, 
and a black beard and grey head. — ' Why don't you turn and fight? ' 
— she hollers, never noticing the stars on his collar. ' Turn and fight, 
you great, cowardly lump! turn and fight! If General Forrest 
could see you, he'd take out his sword and cut your head off !' " 

The firing ahead continued — the Tennessee men said that it was, 
near Spring Hill — and Spring Hill was twelve miles from Franklin. 
" Going to be a battle ? " — " Yes, think so. Understand Thomas is at 
Franklin behind breastworks." — "All right! 'Rock of Chicka- 
mauga' is one of the best — even if he is a Virginian! " — "Thomas 
is n't there himself — he 's at Nashville. It's Schofield." — "All 
right! We '11 meet Schofield." — "Column halted again! — Firing 
getting louder — Franklin getting nearer — the wind rising — 
Smoke over the hill-tops — " —"Who's this going by? — Give him 
a cheer! — Patrick Romayne Cleburne!" — Column forward I — 



4IO CEASE FIRING 

" Did you notice that old graveyard back there at Mt. Pleasant — 
a beautiful, quiet place? Well, General Cleburne rode up and looked 
over the wall, and he said, says he, 'If I die in this country, I 
should like to be buried here.' " — Column forward ! 

Spring Hill — Spring Hill at three o'clock, and Schofield's troops 
scattered through this region, concentrating hurriedly, with intent 
to give battle if needs be, but with a preference for moving north 
along the pike to Thomas at Franklin. What they wished was 
granted them. Here and there through the afternoon musketry 
rolled, but there was no determined attack. Hood says Cheatham 
was at fault, and Cheatham says General Hood dreamed the details 
and the orders he describes. However that may be, no check was 
given to Schofield that day, and in the dark night-time, he and 
his trains and troops went by the sleeping Confederate host and 
escaped, all but unmolested, to Franklin — and henceforth the 
Tennessee campaign was lost, lost! 

Dawn and marching on Franklin — red dawn and the great 
beech trees of the region spreading their leafless arms across the way 
— sunrise and a cold, bright day — Column forward ! — Column 
Jorwardl — Hood " the fighter" at the head, tall and blue-eyed and 
tawny-bearded — S. D. Lee and Stewart and Cheatham — the 
division commanders, Patrick Cleburne and "Alleghany" Johnson 
and Carter Stevenson and Clayton and French and Loiing and 
Walthall and Bate and Brown, and the artillerymen and the rum- 
bling guns, and, iramp, tramp, tramp, tramp t the infantry of the 
Army of Tennessee. Eighteen hundred of these men were to die 
at Franklin. Four thousand were to be wounded. Two thousand 
were going to prison. A division commander was to die. Four 
trigade commanders were to die, others to be wounded or taken. 
Fifty-three commanders of regiments were to be among the killed, 
wounded, and captured. The execution was to take place in three or 
four hours of a November afternoon and a moonless night. Tramp, 
tramp, tramp, tramp I under the leafless beeches on the FrankUn 
Pike. Close up, men — close up I Column forward ! "What is that 
place in the distance with the hills behind it? — That's Franklin on 
the Harpeth." 

The battle opened at four o'clock, and the sun set before five. 
There was an open, quite unobstructed plain running full to an 



THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 411 

abatis and long earthworks, and behind these were the divisions of 
Cox and Ruger and Kimball. Wood's division was over the 
Harpeth and a portion of Wagner's occupied a hill a short distance 
from the front. There were twenty-six guns mounted on the works 
and twelve in reserve. "At four o'clock," says a Federal officer, 
"the whole Confederate line could be seen, stretching in battle 
array, from the dark fringe of chestnuts along the river bank, far 
across the Columbia Pike, the colours gaily fluttering, and the mus- 
kets gleaming brightly, and advancing steadily, in perfect order, 
dressed on the centre, straight for the works." 

At first Success, with an enigmatical smile, rode with the grey. 

The th Virginia yelled as they rode with her. Cheatham's men, 

Stewart's men, Cleburne's famed veteran divisionyelled. Yaaaihhhh! 
Yaaaaihhhl Yaaaaaiiihhh! rang the Rebel yell, and echoed from 
beyond the Harpeth and from the Winstead hills. They yelled and 
drove Wagner's brigades and followed at a double, on straight to 
the gun-crowned works. As the sim dipped came a momentary halt. 
Cleburne was at the front of his troops, about him his officers, be- 
hind him his regiments waiting. It was growing cold and the earth 
in shadow. A man, a good and gallant soldier, was sitting on a 
himip of earth trying to tie a collection of more or less blood-stained 
rags aroxmd his bare, half-frozen feet. He worked patiently, but 
just once he uttered a groan. Cleburne heard the sound and turned 
his head. Sitting his good horse he regarded the soldier for a moment 
with a half-wistful look, then he dismounted, and without saying 
anything to any one, drew off his boots. With them in his hand he 
stepped across, in his stockinged feet, the bit of frosty earth to the 
soldier. He held out the boots. "Put them on!" he ordered. The 
man, astonished, would have scrambled up and saluted, but 
Cleburne pushed him back. "Put them on! "he said. "It'sanorder. 
Put them on." Stammering protests, the soldier obeyed. "There! 
they seem to fit you," said General Cleburne. "You need them 
more than I do." He moved back to his horse, put his stockinged 
foot in the stirrup and mounted. 

There soxmded the charge. In went the corps of Stewart and 
Cheatham, in went Cleburne's division with the blue flag, Alabama, 
and Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, a great veteran division, 
"General Pat" leading. In the winter dusk came the whirlwind. 



412 CEASE FIRING 

There was a cotton-gin in an open field — there were breastworks — 
every gun had opened, every musket was blazing, Casement's brig- 
ade was using magazine breech-loaders. There grew a welter, a 
darkness, a shrieking. General Adams, of Loring's division, sprang, 
bay horse and all, across a ditch and to the top of a parapet. Above 
him flared in the dark a flag. His hands were upon the staff. 
"Fire!" said the colour-guard, and their bullets killed him and the 
bay horse. Gist and Strahl were killed, Granbury was killed. And 
Patrick Romayne Cleburne was killed, and lay in his stockinged 
feet a few yards in front of the breastwork across which was 
stretched Adams's horse. 

Thirteen times the grey charged. There was no wind to blow 
the smoke away. It lay like a level sea, and men fought in it and 
beneath it, and it would have been dark even in daytime. As it was, 
night was here, and it was dark indeed, save for the red murder 
light. 

The th Virginia fought with the same desperation that its 

fellow regiments displayed. A wild energy seemed to inform the 
entire grey army. Edward Gary, rushing with his men to the assault, 
staggering back, going forward again, felt three times the earth of 
the breastworks in his haiids. 

He fought, since that was the business in hand, as though he loved 
it. He did not love it, but he was skilful, poised, and sure, and he 
knew no fear. His men had a strange love for and confidence in him. 
They never put it into words but " He comes from a sunrise land 
and knows more than we" was what they meant. He called half- 
gods by their names and had that detachment which perforce men 
honour. Now, sword in hand, striving to overmount the breastworks 
at Franklin, rallying and leading his men with a certain clean 
efficiency, he acted an approved part in the strife, but kept all the 
time a distance in his soul. He could not be all savage again and 
«xult or howl. Nor was he merely civiUzed, to feel weakness and 
horror and repugnance before this blood and dirt and butchery, and 
yet for pure piide, fear of disgrace, and confusion of intellect, to call 
on every coarser fibre of the past, and exalt in the brain all the old 
sounding, suggestive words, the words to make you feel and not to 
think! He did not call upon the past though he acted automatically 
as the past had acted. He put horror and pity and cold distaste and 



THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 413 

a sense of the absurd to one side and did the work, since it still 
seemed to him that on the whole it must be done, with a kind of 
deadly calm. Had he been more than a dawn type, had he been a 
very httle nearer to the future which he presaged, he might not have 
been there, somehow, in that dusk at all. He might have declined 
solutions practised by boar and wolf, and died persuading his kmd 
toward a cleaner fashion of solving their problems. As it was, 
he hated what he did but did it. 

Again and again the grey wave surged to the top of the breast- 
works. There it was as though it embraced the blue — blue and 
grey swayed, locked in each other's arms. Oh! fire and smoke and 
darkness, and a roaring as of sea and land risen each against the 
other — then down and back went the grey sea, down and back, 
down and back. ... At nine o'clock the battle rested. 

Long and mournful looked the line of camp-fires. There lay on 
the groaning field beneath the smoke that would not rise well-nigh 
as many dressed in blue as dressed in grey. But all loss now to the 
grey, with never a recruiting groimd behind it, was double loss and 
treble loss. Every living man knew it, and knew that the field of 
Franklin was vain, vain! Another artery had been opened, that 
was all. The South was bleeding, bleeding to death. 

There fell upon the Army of Tennessee a great melancholy. 
Reckless daring, yes! but what had reckless daring done? Oppor- 
tunity at Spring Hill lost — Franklin, where there was no oppor- 
tunity, lost, lost! — Cleburne dead — So many of the bravest and 
best dead or laid low or taken, so many slipped forever from the 
Army of Tennessee — cold, himger, nakedness. Giant Fatigue, 
Giant Lack-of-Confidence, Giant Little-Hope, Giant Much-Despair 
— a wailing wind that like an aeolian harp brought a distant crying, 
a crying from home. . . . Not Atlanta, not Missionary Ridge, not 
Vicksburg, — not anything was so bad as the night and day after 
Franklin, Tennessee. 

The night of the thirtieth, Schofield, leaving his dead and 
wounded, fell back from Franklin to Thomas at Nashville a few 
miles to the north. Now there were at Nashville between fifty and 
sixty thousand men in blue. On the second of December Hood put 
his army into motion, and that evening saw it drawn up and facing 
Thomas. Returns conflict, but he had now probably less than thirty 



414 CEASE FIRING 

thousand men. The loss on the field had been great, and the strag- 
gling was great and continued so. Also, now at last, there was an 
amount of desertion. 

The weather changed. It became cold winter. For fourteen days 
Hood who so despised breastworks, dug and entrenched. "The 
only remaining chance of success in the campaign at this juncture," 
he says, "was to take position, entrench about Nashville, and await 
Thomas's attack, which, if handsomely repulsed, might afford us 
an opportimity to follow up our advantage on the spot and enter 
the city on the heels of the enemy." — But George Thomas was a 
better general though not a braver man than Hood, and he had two 
men to Hood's one, and his men were clothed and fed and confident. 
He had no better lieutenants than had Hood, and his army was no 
braver than the grey army and not one half so desperate — but 
when all is weighed and allowed for his advantage remains of the 
greatest. And as at Franklin so at Nashville, the grey cavalry was 
divided and Forrest was fatally sent on side expeditions. 

It began to snow, and as the snow fell it froze. The trees and the 
country side were mailed in ice and the skies hung grey as iron and 
low as the roof of a cavern. The Army of Tennessee, behind its 
frozen earthworks, suffered after a ghastly fashion. There was 
little wood for fires, and little food for cooking, and little covering 
for warmth. On the thirteenth there set in a thaw, and the fifteenth 
dawned, not cold, with a winter fog. Through it the ' Rock of Chick- 
amauga' moved out in force from Nashville, and with his whole 
strength struck fair and full the Army of Tennessee. 

Two days the two armies fought. In the slant sunshine of the late 
afternoon of the second day, the Federal commander brought a 
great concentration of artillery against the Confederate centre, 
and under cover of that storm of shot and shell, massed his troops 
and charged the centre. It broke. The blue poured over the breast- 
works. At the same moment other and dire blue strokes were deliv- 
ered against the right and left. The grey army was crimipled together 
like a piece of cloth. Then in a torrent of shouting and a thunder 
of gims came the rout. The grey cloth was torn in strips and fled 
like shreds in a high wind. Beside the killed and wounded the grey 
left in the hands of the enemy fifty-four guns and four thousand 
five hundred prisoners. Night came down; night over the Confed- 
eracy. 



THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE 415 

Ten days and nights the shattered army fell back to the Tennes- 
see, moving at first through a hail-storm of cavalry attacks. Forrest 
beat these off, Forrest and a greatly heroic rear guard under Walt- 
hall. This infantry command and Forrest saved the remnant of the 
army. 

The weather grew atrocious. The country now was hilly, wooded, 
thinly populated. Snow fell and then sleet, and the ground grew ice 
and the rail fences and the trees were mailed in ice. The feet of the 
men left blood-marks on the ice, the hands of the men were frozen 
where they rested on the gun stocks. Men lay down by the roadside 
and died or were gathered by the blue force hard on the heels of the 
rear guard. The ambulances bore their load, the empty ammunition 
and commissary wagons carried as many as they might, the caissons 
were overlaid with moaning men, the mounted officers took men 
up behind them. Others, weak, ill, frozen, shoeless did their piteous 
best to keep up with the " boys." They fell behind, they sank upon 
the roadside, they drew themselves into the gaunt woods and lay 
down upon the frozen snow, arms over eyes. Tramp, tramp, tramp, 
tramp! went the column on the road. Close up, men, close up — 
dose up! "It's the end, it's the end! "said the men. "For God's 
sake, strike up Dixie!" 

" 'Way down South in the land of cotton. 
Old times there are not forgotten — " 



XXXIX 

COLUMBIA 

THE bells of the South had been melted and run into cannon, 
and yet there seemed a tolling of bells. Everywhere they 
tolled — louder and louder! — tolled the siege of Savan- 
nah, tolled Hatcher's Run in Virginia, tolled Fort Fisher in North 
Carolina and the blue bombarding ships — tolled solemnly and 
loudly, "The End is cornel" 

Forrest guarding, the haggard remnant of the Army of Tennessee 
crossed the river on the twenty-seventh of December. There was 
a council of war. Where to go to rest — recoup — reorganize? 
Southwest into Mississippi? Southwest they marched and on the 
tenth of January came to Tupelo. Hood asked to be relieved from 
command and was relieved, A. P. Stewart succeeding him. Later 
the army, now a small, war-worn force, went to fight in North 
Carolina. But Stevenson's division and a few other troops were 
sent into South Carolina to Hardee who, with less than fifteen 
thousand men, mostly in garrison at Charleston, was facing Sher- 
man and his sixty thousand, flushed from that March to the Sea 
which is described as "one long, glorious picnic," from the capture 
of Savannah, from the plaudits of the Northern press and the praise 
of Government. Now the idea that he should join Grant at Peters- 
burg having been laid aside, Sherman proposed to march northward 
through South Carolina. 

The bells tolled loud in the South, tolled for the women in the 
night-time, tolled for the shrunken armies, tolled for the cities that 
waited, a vision before their eyes of New Orleans, Atlanta, Savan- 
nah, tolled for the beleaguered places where men watched in the 
trenches, tolled for the burned farmhouses, the burned villages, 
the lonely, blackened country with the gaunt chimneys standing 
up, tolled for famine, tolled for death, tolled for the broken-hearted, 
tolled for human passions let loose, tolled for anger, greed and lust. 



COLUMBIA 417 

tolled for the shrunken good, tolled for the mounting ill, tolled for 
war! Through the South they tolled and tolled. 

Beauregard took command in South Carolina. It was not known 
whether Sherman would move north and west upon Augusta, just 
over the Georgia line, or east to Charleston, or almost due north to 
Coliunbia. Late in January he moved from Savannah in ruins, 
crossed the flooded Savannah River by pontoon, entered South 
Carolina, and marched northward toward Columbia the capital of 
that state. It being a rainy season, and swamp and river out of 
bounds, he made not more than ten miles a day. 

At this time one of his staff officers writes, "The actual invasion 
of South Carolina has begim. The well-known sight of columns of 
black smoke meets our gaze again." And another Federal officer, 
"There can be no doubt of the assertion that the feeling among the 
troops was one of extreme bitterness toward the people of South 
CaroUna. It was freely expressed as the column hurried over the 
bridge at Sister's Ferry, eager to commence the punishment of the 
original Secessionists. Threatening words were heard from soldiers 
who prided themselves on conservatism in house-burning while in 
Georgia, and officers openly confessed their fears that the coming 
campaign would be a wicked one. Just or unjust as this feeling was 
toward the country people in South Carolina, it was universal. 
I first saw its fruits at Purisburg, where two or three piles of black- 
ened bricks and an acre or so of dying embers marked the site of an 
old, Revolutionary town; and this before the column had fairly got 
its hand in. . . . The army might safely march the darkest night, 
the crackling pine woods shooting up their columns of flame, and 
the burning houses along the way would light it on. . . . As for the 
wholesale burnings, pillage, devastation, committed in South 
Carolina, magnify all I have said of Georgia some fifty-fold, and 
then throw in an occasional murder, 'just to bring an old hard- 
fisted cuss to his senses,' and you have a pretty good idea of the 
whole thing." 

General Sherman testifies that "the whole army is burning with 
insatiable desire to wreak vengeance on South Carolina. I almost 
tremble at her fate." 

And one of his captains remarks of the situation several weeks 
later. "It was sad to see this wanton destruction of property which 



41 8 CEASE FIRING 

. . . was the work of 'bummers' who were marauding through the 
country committing every sort of outrage. There was no restraint 
except with the column or the regular foraging parties. We had no 
communications and could have no safeguards. The coimtry was 
necessarily left to take care of itself, and became a howling waste. 
The 'Coffee-coolers' of the Army of the Potomac were archangels 
compared to our 'bummers' who often fell to the tender mercies 
of Wheeler's cavalry, and were never heard of again, earning a fate 
richly deserved." 

Winter is not truly winter in South Carolina, but in the winter of 
'65 it rained and rained and rained. All swamps and streams were 
out, low-lying plantations were under water, the country looked like 
a flooded rice-field. The water-oaks and live-oaks and magnolias 
stood up, shining and dark, beneath the streaming sky; where the 
road was corduroyed it was hard to travel, and where it was not 
wheels sank and sank. All the world was wet, and the canes in the 
marshes made no rustling. When it did not rain the sky remained 
grey, a calm grey pall keeping out the sun, but leaving a quiet grey- 
pearl light, like a dream that is neither sad nor glad. 

"It is," said Desiree, "the air of Cape Jessamine that winter you 
came." 

"Yes. The road to Vidalia! We passed at nightfall a piece of 
water with a bit of bridge. I helped push a gun upon it, and the 
howitzer knocked me on the head for my pains. I fell down, down 
into deep water, forty fathoms at the least, and blacker than ebony 
at midnight. . . . And then I waked up in Rasmus's cabin, and we 
had supper, and water came under the door, and we circumvented 
the bayou, and went to the Gaillard place which was called Cape 
Jessamine. And there I found a queen in a russet gown and a sol- 
dier's cloak. The wind blew the cloak out and made a canopy of it 
in the light of torches and bonfires. She stood upon the levee and 
bitted and bridled the Mississippi River — and I fell in love, deep, 
deep, forty thousand fathoms deep — " 

"Two years. . . . You were so ragged and splashed with mud 
— And my heart beat like that! and said to me 'Who is this that 
comes winged and crowned?' — Listen!" 

They were on a road somewhat to the southeast of Columbia, 
D6siree in an open wagon driven by a negro boy, Edward — major 



COLUMBIA 419 

now of the th Virginia — riding besideheronagrey horse. Ahead, 

at some distance, they just saw the regiment, marching through a 
gloomy wood, bound for a post on the Edisto. The sound of its 
going and the voices of the men came faintly back through the damp 
and quiet air. But what they heard was nearer, a passionate weep- 
ing amid the trees at a cross-road. Coming to this opening they foimd 
a spacious family carriage drawn by two ancient plough horses, a 
cart with a mule attached, and two or three negro pedestrians. The 
whole had stopped the moment before and with reason. A white- 
haired lady, stretched upon the cushions of the carriage laid cross- 
wise, had just breathed her last. The weeping was her daughter's, 
a dark, handsome girl of twenty. Two negro women lamented also, 
while the coachman had gotten down from the box and stood star- 
ing, with a working face. There were some bags and pillows and 
things of httle account heaped in the cart, and on these a small 
negro boy was profoimdly sleeping. 

Edward dismounted and Desiree stepped down from the wagon. 
" What could they do ? IIow sad it was ! — Was there any help? — " 
Desiree lifted the girl from her mother's form, drew her away to a 
roadside log, and sitting there, held her close and let her weep. 
Edward saw the oldest negro woman, murmuring constantly to her- 
self, close the eyes of the dead mistress, straighten her limbs and fold 
her hands. The other woman sat on the earth and rocked herself. 
The plough horses and the mule lowered their heads and cropped 
what green bush and grass there was. The little black boy slept 
on and on. Edward talked with the coachman. " Yaas, marster, dat 
so! — 'Bout thirty miles south from here, sah. Bienvenu — er 
Lauren's place. En de Yankees come hoUerin' en firin' en hits daid 
of night en old Marster en young Marster wif Gineral Lee. — One 
officer, he say git away quick! en he give me er guard en I hitches 
up, en we lif' ol' Mistis out of her bed where she's had pnemnonia, 
en Miss Fanny en her mammy en JuKa dar wif her boy, we teks de 
road." 

Desiree and Edward saw the forlorn cortege proceed on its way 
with hopes of a village or some country house. They stood a mo- 
ment watching it disappear, then Desiree rested her hand upon his 
arm and mounted again into the wagon, and he sprang upon his 
horse that was named Damon, and the negro boy touched the mule 



420 CEASE FIRING 

drawing the wagon with his whip, and they all went on after the 
regiment. They found it at twilight, encamped in the hospitable 
houses and the one street of a tiny rain-soaked hamlet. Head- 
quarters was the parsonage and here was a room ready for the 

Major's wife. From colonel to cook the th Virginia loved the 

Major's wife. Romance dwelled with her, and a queenliness that 
was never vanquished. Her presence never wearied; she knew 
when to withdraw, to disappear, how not to give trouble, and how, 
when she gave it, to make it seem a high guerdon, a princess's 
favour. Sometimes the regiment did not see her for weeks or even 
months on end, and then she came like a rose in summer, a more 
golden light on the fields, a deeper blue in the sky. She made 
mystics of men. 

Now the parson's wife made her welcome, and after a small 
supper sat with her in a clean bedroom before a fire. The 
parson's wife was full of sighs, and "Ah, my dears!" and ominous 
shakings of the head. "South Carolina's bound down," she said, 
"and going to be tormented. What you tell me about that dead 
woman and her daughter is but the beginning. It 's but a leaf be- 
fore the storm. We're going to hear of many whirled and trodden 
leaves." 

"Yes," said Desiree, her eyes upon the fantastic shapes in the 
hollow of the fire. " Whirled and trodden leaves." 

"I have a sister," said the parson's wife, "in Georgia. She got 
away, but will you listen to some of the things she writes ?" 

She got the letter and read. Desiree, listening, put her hands 
over her eyes and shivered a little for all the room was warm. "I 
should not have said such things could happen in a Christian land," 
she said. 

"They happen," said the parson's wife. "War is a horror, and 
a horror to women. It has always been so and always will be so. 
And now I must go see that there is covering enough on the beds." 

At cock-crow the regiment was up and away. Still the same 
pearly sky, the same quietude, the same stretches of water crept 
under the trees, the same heavy road, and halts and going on. The 
regiment took dinner beneath live oaks on a little rise of ground 
beside a swamp become a lake. Officers' mess dined a little to one 
side beneath a monster tree. All wood was wet and the fires smoked, 



COLUMBIA 421 

but soldiers grow skilful and at last a blaze was got. Sherman was 
yet to the southward; this strip of country not yet overrun and 
provisions to be had. Ofl&cers' mess to-day sat down under the live 
oaks to what, compared to many and many a time in its existence, 
appeared a feast for kings. There were roasted ducks and sweet 
potatoes, rice and milk and butter. Oflacers' mess said grace 
devoutly. 

Desiree said grace with her friends, for they had sent back to 
urge her wagon forward and to say they had a feast and to beg her 
company. She sat with Edward over against the Colonel, and the 
captains and lieutenants sat to either side the board. They made 
a happy dinner, jesting and laughing, while o£E in the grove of oaks, 
was heard the laughter of their grey men. When dinner was over, 
and half an hour of sweet rest was over, into coliunn came all, and 
took again the swampy road. 

That evening headquarters was a fine old pillared house, set in 
a noble garden, surroimded in its turn by the fields and woods of a 
great plantation. Here there was a large family, an old man and 
his married daughters and their daughters and little sons. These 
made the men welcome where they camped beside fires out under 
the great trees of the place, and the grey officers welcome indoors, 
and Desiree welcome and gave her and Edward a room with mirrors 
and chintz curtains and a great four-poster bed and a light-wood fire. 
A little after the regiment, came up also a small troop of grey cavalry- 
returning from a reconnoissance to the southward. Infantry and 
the plantation alike were eager for Cavalry's news. Its news was. 
ravage and ruin, the locusts of Egypt and a grudge against the land. 
There were sixty thousand of the foe and it seemed determined now 
that Sherman meant Columbia. 

"What are the troops at Columbia?" 

"Stevenson's twenty-six hundred men, a few other scattering 
commands, Wheeler's cavalry — say five thousand in all." 

" Could not General Beauregard bring troops from Charleston? " 

"General Hampton thinks he might. — Evacuate Charleston — 
concentrate before Columbia. But I don't know — I don't knowt 
There are not many thousands even at Charleston." 

"It's the end." 
. "Yes. I suppose so. But fight on till the warder drops!" 



422 CEASE FIRING 

There were the young girls and young married women in the great 
old house. There was a polished floor, and negro fiddlers had not left 
the plantation. Cavalry and infantry officers were, with some 
exceptions, young men — and this was South Carolina. "Yes, 
dance ! " said the old gentleman, the head of the house. " To-morrow 
you may have neither fiddlers nor floor." 

They danced till almost midnight, and at the last they danced 
the Virginia Reel. The women were not in silks or fine muslins, 
they were in homespun. The men were not dressed like the young 
bloods, the University students, the dandies of five years back. 
Their grey uniforms were clean, but very worn. Bars upon the 
collar, or sash and star took the place of the old elaboration of 
velvet waistcoat and fine neckcloth. Spurs that would have caught 
in filmy laces did not harm the women's skirts of linsey. The fid- 
dlers fiddled, the lights burned. Up and down and up again, and 
around and around. . . . 

Edward and Desiree, resting by a window, regarded the room, 
at once vivid and dreamy. "We were dancing," he said, "the Vir- 
ginia Reel at Greenwood the night there came news of the secession 
of Virginia." 
. " Much has happened since then." 

"Much." 

The fiddlers played, the lights burned, they took their places. 
At midnight the revel closed, and they slept in the chamber with the 
mirrors and the fire, until the winter day showed, smoked-pearl, 
without the windows. At breakfast-time came a courier from Colum- 
bia, ordering the th Virginia back to that place. 

The weather cleared and grew colder. The roads drying, the 
regiment made good pace. But for all the patches of bright sky 
there seemed to hang a pall over the land. The wind in the woods 
blew with a long, mournful, rushing sound. Desir6e sat in the wagon 
with bowed head, her hands in her lap. Edward was ahead, to-day, 
with the regiment. The wagon went heavily on, the wind rushed 
on either side like goblin horsemen. At intervals during the morning 
the negro boy was moved to speech. "Yass'm. All de ghostes are 
loose in de graveyards. Dey tel' erbout hit in de kitchen las' night. 
Dey been to er voodoo woman, en she say all de ghostes loose, high 
en low, out er ebery graveyard, en she ain't got no red pepper what 



COLUMBIA 423 

kin lay them. She say time past she had ernough, but she ain't got 
emough now." 

"What are they doing — the ghosts?" 

"Dey're linin' up in long lines like de poplars, en wavin' dere 
arms en sayin',|'De end's come! De end's come! ' En den dey rises 
from de ground en goes erroun' de plantation in er ring, 'twel you 
almos' think hits jus' er ring ob mist. But dey keep er-sayin', 
' De end 's come ! De end 's co me ! ' Yass 'm, dey 're all out, en dere 
ain't nothin' what kin lay them ! " 

Moving now as they were on a main road to Columbia they this 
day passed or overtook numbers of people, all going their way. 
These people looked distracted. " What was happening to the south- 
ward?" "Ruin!" they answered. Some talked quickly and fever- 
ishly as long as they might to the soldiers; others dealt in mono- 
syllables, shook their heads and went on with fixed gaze. Shortly 
before this time General Sherman had written to General Halleck: 
"This war differs from European wars in this particular — we are 
not only fighting hostile armies but a hostile people; and must 
make old and yoimg, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of want, as 
well as their organized armies." These on the road to Columbia 
were the unorganized — the old and very young and the sick and 
a great number of women. 

The soldiers were troubled. "Sherman's surely coming to 
Columbia, and how will five thousand men hold it against sixty 
thousand? You poor people ought n't to go there!" 

"Then where shoxild we go?" 

"God knows!" 

"We are from Purisburg. There is n't a house standing." 

"We are from Barnwell. It was burning when we left. Our home 
was burned." 

"I am from toward Pocotaligo. It is all a waste. All black and 
burned." 

On they streamed, the refugees. The regiment gave what help, 
what lifts upon the way it could. As for Desiree, coming on in her 
wagon, she took into it so many, that presently she found no room 
for herself, but walked beside the horse. And so, at last, on a dull, 
soft day, they came into Columbia. 

It was the sixteenth of February. The Capital of South Carolina 



424 CEASE FIRING 

was by nature a pleasant, bowery town, though now it was so heavy 
of heart and filled with forebodings. Of the five thousand who 
formed its sole defence some portion was in the town itself, but the 
greater part lay outside, on picket, up and down the Congaree. 

The th Virginia, coming in, was quartered in the town until it 

was known what was to be done. Orangeburg was not many miles 
below Columbia, and the head of Sherman's column had reached 
Orangeburg. There was a track of fire drawn across the country; 
Columbia saw doom coming like a prairie-fire. 

Edward found a room for Desiree and he came to her here an 
hour before dusk. They stood together by a window looking down 
into the street. "They are leaving home," she said. "I have seen 
women and children going all afternoon. I have seen such sad things 
in this pretty street." 

" Sad enough ! " he answered. "Desiree, I think that you must go 
too." 

"No, no!" she said. "No, no! There is nowhere to go." 

"There is Camden and the villages in the northern part of the 
State. It is possible that Sherman means when he has done his 
worst here, to turn back toward Charleston. There is no knowing, 
but it is possible. If he does that, Camden and those other places 
may escape." 

"And you?" 

"There are no orders yet. We may stay or we may march away. 
O God, what a play is Life!" 

"Those women who are parting down there — saying good-bye 
to all they love — they do not at all know that they are going into 
safety, and those who are parting from them do not know. It might 
be better for them to stay in this large town. They are going away 
in the dark night, and the enemy may have parties out where they 
are going. I had rather stay here. I think that it is safer." 

"Desiree, Desiree! If a man could see but ever so little of the 
road before him ! If we are marched away in haste as we may be, 
you cannot go with us this time. Then to leave you here alone — " 

"There is an Ursuline convent here," she said. "They will not 
burn that. If you leave me and evil comes near I will go there." 

"You promise that ?" 
^ "Yes, I promise it." 



COLUMBIA 425 

It was in the scroll of their fate that he should leave her and that 
evil should come nigh. She waked in a strange red dawn to hear the 
tramp of feet in the street below. Instantly she was at the window. 
Grey soldiers were passing below — a column. In the south broke 
suddenly a sound of cannon. She saw a shell, sent from the other 
side of the river, explode in the red air above the city roofs. There 
came a feeling of Vicksburg again. 

A hand was at her door. She opened it and Edward took her in 
his arms. "I have but an instant," he said. "If we go it may be 
better for this city than if we stayed. The mayor will surrender it 
peaceably, and it may be spared destruction. For you, Desiree — 
for you — God bless you, God keep you till we meet again!" 

She smiled back at him. "That will be shortly." 

"No man can tell, nor no woman. You will go to the Ursuline 
convent ? " 

"Yes, I will go." 

He strained her to him; they kissed and parted. The soldiers 
went by in the red dawn, out of the town, toward Winnsboro' to the 
northward. This day also Charleston was evacuated, Hardee with 
his men moving north to Cheraw on the Pedee. At Columbia the 
mayor and aldermen went out between eight and nine in the 
morning and, meeting the Federal advance, surrendered the town, 
and £isked for protection for the non-combatants within its walls. 
How it was given let history tell. Several days later Sherman writes 
to Ealpatrick: "Let the whole people know that war is now against 
them, because their armies flee before us and do not defend their 
country or frontier as they should. It is pretty nonsense for Wheeler 
and Beauregard and such vain heroes to talk of our warring against 
women and children. If they claim to be men they should defend 
their women and children and prevent us reaching their homes." 

Perhaps Wheeler and Beauregard and the other vain heroes 
would have prevented it if they could. Since, however, it lay in 
their hard fortune that they could not, there remained in General 
Sherman's mind no single reason for consideration. 

Desiree went truly to the Ursuline convent, passing swiftly 
through the windy streets on a windy day, choosing small back 
streets because the principal ones were now crowded with soldiers, 
keeping close to the walls of the houses and drawing a scarf she 



426 CEASE FIRING 

wore more fully about head and face, for even through the side 
streets there were now echoing drunken voices. She came to the 
convent door, rang, and greeting the sister who came told how alone 
she was in the city. The door opened to admit her of course, and 
she only wished that Edward might see her in the convent garden 
or in the little room where the nuns said she might sleep thatpight. 
But no one slept in the convent that night. It was burned. 
The nuns and the young girls, their pupils, and the women who had 
come for refuge stayed the night in the churchyard. It was cold and 
there was a high wind. The leafless branches of the trees clattered 
in it, and below, on their knees, the nuns murmured prayers, their 
half-frozen hands fingering their rosaries. The young girls drew 
together for warmth, and the Mother Superior stood, counselling 
and comforting. And the convent burned and the city burned, 
with a roaring and crackling of flames and a shouting of men. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 

SHE was a wise as well as a fair woman, and yet, the day after 
the burning of Columbia, she took a road that led northward 
from the smoking ruins. In the cold morning sunlight 
Sherman himself had come to the churchyard, and hat in hand had 
spoken to the Mother Superior. He regretted the accidental burn- 
ing of the convent. Any yet standing house in town that she might 
designate should be reserved for her, her nuns and pupils. She 
named a large old residence from which the family had gone, and 
walking between files of soldiers the nuns and their charges came 
here. "We learned," says the Mother Superior, "from the officer 
in charge that his orders were to fire it unless the Sisters were in 
actual possession of it, but if even 'a detachment of Sisters' were 
in it, it should be spared on their account. Accordingly we took 
possession of it, although fires were already kindled near and the 
servants were carrying off the bedding and furniture, in view of the 
house being consigned to the flames." 

All morning the burning, the looting and shouting went on. 
Smoke rolled through the streets, the wind blew flames from point 
to point. The house was crowded to oppression; there came a 
question of food for so many. Some one was needed to go to the 
mayor with representations, which might in turn be brought 
before the Federal commander. Desiree volunteered and the dis- 
tance not being great, went and returned in safety. Not far from 
the door that would open to receive her was a burned house and 
before it an ancient carriage, and in the carriage two ladies and a 
little girl. There were soldiers in the street and to be seen through 
smoke beyond the fallen house, but here beside the carriage was an 
officer high in command and order prevailed. The officer was 
speaking to the ladies. "If there is any trouble, show your pass. 
I won't say that you are wise to leave this place, sad as it is! These 
are wild times, and there are more marauders than I like. Even if 



428 CEASE FIRING 

you make your way to your brother's house, you may find it in 
ashes. And if you overtake the rear of your army, what can that 
help? We will be sweeping on directly and the rebels — I beg your 
pardon. General Beauregard's army — will have to fall back before 
us or surrender. I think you had better stay. General Sherman will 
surely issue rations to the place." 

"We prefer to go on," said the eldest of the two women. "We 
may find friends somewhere, and somewhere to lay our heads. We 
do thank you for the pass." 

"Not at all!" said the officer. "As I told you, your father and 
my father were friends." 

As he moved from the carriage door Desiree saw that there was 
an empty seat. "Oh," she thought, "if I might have it!" 

Her face, turned toward the carriage, showed from out her hood. 
The younger of the women saw her, started and uttered an exclam- 
ation. "Desiree Gaillard!" she cried. 

Lo! it was an acquaintance, almost a friend, a girl who had been 
much in New Orleans, with whom she had laughed at many a party. 
" Go with them ! — yes, indeed, she might go with them." She ran 
to the house that was now the convent, gave the Mayor's message 
and thanked the Sisters for the help they would have given, then out 
she came to the smoke-filled street and took her place in the car- 
riage. It had a guard out of town; the officer had been punctilious 
to do his best. It was understood that there were Federal troops 
on the Camden road, but they were going toward Winnsboro'. 
When the burning city lay behind them and the quiet winter fields 
around, when the guard had said agruflE "You're safe enough now! 
Good-day!" and turned back, when the negro driver said, "Git up, 
Lance! Git up, France!" to the horses, and the carriage wheels 
turned and they passed a clump of cedars, they were on the road 
that the grey troops had travelled no great chain of hours before. 

They drove on and on, and now they overtook and passed or 
kept company with for a while mournful folk, refugees, people with 
the noise of falling walls in their ears. They had tales to tell and 
some were dreadful enough. Then for a time the road would be bare, 
a melancholy road, much cut to pieces, with ruts and hollows. 
Now and then in dropped haversack, or broken bayonet, or torn shoe, 
or blood-stained rag were visible tokens that soldiers had passed. 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 429 

They had a little food and they ate this, and now and then they 
talked in low voices, but for the most part they sat silent, looking 
out on the winter landscape. The Uttle girl was restless, and Desiree 
told her French fairy stories, quaint and fragrant. At last she slept, 
and the three women sat in silence, looking out. In the late after- 
noon, turning a little from the main road, they came to the country 
house for which they were bound. 

The welcome was warm, with a clamour for news. "Columbia 
burned! — ok, well-a-way J ... No Yankees in this part as yet. 
Our troops went by yesterday on the Winnsboro' road. It 's said 
they'll wait there until General Hardee gets up from Charleston 
and they can make junction. There 's a rumour that General 
Johnston will be put in command. Oh, the waiting, waiting! 
One's brain turns, looking for the enemy to come, looking for the 
South to fall — worse and worse news every day! If one were with 
the Army it would not be half so bad. Waiting, waiting here's the 
worst!" 

In this Desiree agreed. It was away in a wood and upon a creek 
like the Fusilier place. The army was no great distance further on, 
and halted. Inadayortwoitwouldmove, away, away! Her whole 
being cried out, 'I cannot stay here! If it comes to danger, this 
lonely place will be burned like the others. I were safer there than 
here. And what do I care for danger ? Have I not travelled with 
danger for two years? " 

That night when, exhausted, she fell asleep, she had a dream. 
She was back in Dalton, in the house with the lace-handkerchief 
dooryard. She was on her knees, cording a hair trunk, and the old 
negro Nebuchadnezzar and his horse Julius Caesar were waitii^. 
Somebody — it was not the two sisters who lived in the house — but 
somebody, she could not make out who it was — was persuading 
her to stay quietly there, not to take the road to Resaca. At first 
she would not listen, but at last she did listen and said she would 
stay. And then at once she was at Cape Jessamine and the house 
was filled with people and there was dancing. Everything was soft 
and bright and a myriad of wax candles were burning, and the 
music played and they talked about going to New Orleans for Mardi- 
gras and what masks they should wear. And she was exceedingly 
happy, with roses in her hair and an old gold-gown. But all the time 



430 CEASE FIRING 

she was trying to remember something or somebody, and it troubled 
her that she could not bring whatever it was to mind. And then, 
though she still danced, and though there stayed a gleaming edge of 
floor and light and flowers and moving people, the rest rolled away 
into darkness and a battlefield. She saw the stars above it and 
heard the wind, and then she left the dancers and the lights and they 
faded away and she walked on the battlefield, but still there was 
something she could not remember. She was unhappy and her 
heart ached because she could not. And then she came to a comer 
of the field where were dark vines and broken walls, and a voice 
came to her out of it, "Desiree! Desiree!" She remembered now 
and knew that Edward lay there, and she cried, "I am coming!" 
But even so the dream turned again, and she was back in the house 
with the lace-handkerchief yard, and the hair trunk was being 
carried back into the house and up the stairs, and the wagon at the 
gate turned and went away without her. Then there was darkness 
again, and the cave at Vicksburg, and a cry in her ears, "Desirie! 
Desir&e!" 

She waked, and, trembling, sat up in bed. "If I had not gone 
from Dalton," she said, "he would have died." She rose, crossed 
the room to a window and set it wide. It looked across the wood 
toward the road they had left, the Winnsboro' road. She stood 
gazing, in the night wind, the winter wind. There was a faint far 
light upon the horizon. Rightly or wrongly, she thought it was the 
camp-fires of the grey army. Another night and they would be fur- 
ther away perhaps, another night and further yet! Sooner or later 
there would be the battle, and the dead and the wounded left on the 
field. The wind blew full upon her, wrapping her white gown 
closely about her limbs, lifting her dark hair. "DSsirie! Disireel" 
The dream cry was yet in her ears, and there on the horizon flamed 
his camp-fires. 

When morning came she begged a favour of her new friends in 
this place. Could they let her have a cart and a horse, anything 
that might take her to Winnsboro'? They said that if she must go 
she should have the carriage and horses and the old driver of yes- 
terday, but surely it was not wise to go at all! News was here this 
morning that the ravage north of Columbia had begun. All this 
coimtry would be imsafe — was perhaps unsafe at this moment and 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 431 

henceforth! No one expected this house to be spared — why 
should it be, more than another? — but at least it was not burned 
yet, and it was better to face what might come in company than 
alone ! " Stay with us, my dear, stay with us ! " But when she would 
go on, they imderstood. It was a time of wandering and of much 
travel imder strange and hard conditions. As for danger — when 
it was here and there and everjrwhere what use in dwelling on it? 
No one could say with any knowledge, "Here is safety," or "There 
is danger." The shuttle was so rapid! What to-day seemed the 
place of safety was to-morrow the very centre of danger. What was 
to-day's field of danger might become to-morrow, the wave rushing 
on, quiet of foes as any desert strand! — Desiree kissed her friends 
and went away in the old carriage toward the Winnsboro' road. 

The morning was dull and harsh with scudding clouds. The side 
road was as quiet as death, but when they came upon the broader 
way there grew a difference. The old negro looked behind him. 
" Dere 's an awful fuss, mistis, en er dust ! des lak de debbil got loose ! " 

"Drive fast," said Desiree. "If you come to a lane turn into it." 

But the road went straight between banks of some height, with- 
out a feasible opening to either hand. Moreover, though the driver 
used the whip and the horses broke into something like a gallop, the 
cloud of dust and the noise behind steadily gained. There came a 
round of pistol shots. "They are firing at us," said Desiree. "Check 
the horses and draw the carriage to the side of the road." 

Dust and noise enveloped them. A foraging party, twenty jovial 
troopers, drew rein, surrounded the carriage, declined to molest or 
trouble the lady, but claimed the carriage-horses in the name of the 
Union. 

They cut the traces and took them, Desiree standing by the road- 
side watching. These men, she thought, were much like schoolboys, 
in wild spirits, ready for rough play but no malice. She was so used 
to soldiers and used to seeing in them such sudden, rough and gay 
humour as this that she felt no fear at all. When a freckled, humor- 
ous-faced man came over and asked her if she had far to travel, and 
if she really minded walking, she answered with a wit and compws- 
lure .that made him first chuckle, then laugh, then take off his cap 
and make her a bow. The troop was in a hurry. When it had the 
horses and had joked and laughed and caracoled enough, off it pre- 



432 CEASE FIRING 

pared to go in another cloud of dust. But the freckled man came 
back for a moment to Desiree. " If I may make so bold, ma'am," 
he said, "I'd suggest that you don't do much walking on this 
road, and that as soon as you come to a house you ask the people 
to let you take pot-luck with them for a while! The army 's coming 
on, and we've got plenty of bands out that don't seem ever to have 
had any good womenfolk to teach them manners. If you'll take a 
friend's advice you'll stop at the nearest house — though of course, 
in these times, that ain't very safe neither! " 

The carriage had the forlornest air, stranded there in the road, 
beneath a sky so cloudy that now there threatened a storm. The 
negro driver was old and slightly doddering. Moreover, when she 
said, "Well, Uncle, now we must walk!" he began to plain of his 
rheumatism. She found that it was actual enough; he would be 
able to walk neither fast or far. She looked behind her. A league 
or two back lay the turning that would lead to the house she had 
quitted. . . . But she shook her head. She had made her choice. 

A mile from where they left the carriage they found at a cross- 
roads the cabin of some free negroes — a man and a woman and 
many children. Here Desiree left her companion. If she took the 
narrower road, where, she asked, would it lead her? Could she 
reach Winnsboro' that way? — Yes, if she went on to a creek and 
a mill, and if then she took the right-hand road. No, it wasn't 
much out of the way — three or four miles. 

"And a quiet, safe road?" 

"Yaas, ma'am. Jus' er-runnin' along quiet by itself. Hit ain't 
much travelled." 

"But it will bring me to Winnsboro' ?" 

"Yaas, ma'am. Quicker 'n de main road wif all dese armies 
hoUerin' down it." 

"Those men who went by a little while ago — were they the first 
to pass to-day?" 

"No, ma'am, dat dey was n't! En dey was sober, Lawd!" 

"And they've all kept on the main road?" 

"Yaas, ma'am. All taken de main road." 

She looked down the road she had come — the main road. Here 
was another cloud of dust; she heard a faint shouting. She had with 
her some Confederate notes, and now she put one of a large denom- 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 433 

ination into the hand of the old driver, nodded good-bye, and turned 
into the narrow way, that seemed merely a track through the forest. 
Almost immediately, as she came beneath the arching trees, the 
cabin, the negro family, the gleaming, wider road sank away and 
were lost. 

She walked lightly and swiftly. She might have been wearied. 
For a month now she had known that she carried life beneath her 
heart. But she did not feel wearied. She felt strong and well and 
deathless. The miles were not many now before her. With good 
luck she might even reach her goal to-night. If not to-night then 
she would sleep where she might and go forward at dawn. Before 
another s\m was high it would be all right — all right. The clouds 
began to lift, and though it was cold it did not seem so cold to her 
as it had been. At long intervals she passed, set back from the road, 
small farmhouses or cabins in ragged gardens. Most of these houses 
looked quite deserted; others had every shutter closed, huddling 
among the trees with a frightened air. As the afternoon pame on the 
hovises grew further apart. The road was narrow, untravelled of 
late — it seemed a lonely country. ... At last she came to the 
promised creek and the mill. The miU-wheel was not turning, no 
miller and his men stood about the door, no horses with sacks 
thrown across waited without. There was no sign of hfe. But the 
miller's house was behind the mill, and here she saw a face at a win- 
dow. She went and knocked at the door. An old woman opened to 
her. " Be the Yankees coming ? " she said. 

Desiree asked for a bit of bread, and to warm herself beside the 
fire. While she ate it, crouched in the warm comer of the kitchen 
hearth, the old woman took again her post at the window. "I keep 
a-watching and a-watching for them to come ! ' ' she said. " They 've 
got a spite against mills. My father built this one, and when he died 
my husband took it, and when he died my boy John. The wheel 
turned when I was little, and when I was grown and had a lover, and 
when I was married and when there were children. It turned when 
there was laughing and when there was crying. The soimd of the 
water over it and the flashing is the first thing I can remember. I 
used to think it would be the last thing I 'd hear when I came to die, 
and I kind of hoped it wovdd. I liked it. It was all mixed up with 
all kinds of things. But now I reckon before this time to-morrow 



434 CEASE FIRING 

it'll be burned. They've got a spite against mills. — Won't you 
stay the night ?" 

But there was an hour yet before sunset. The road to Winnsboro' ? 
Yes, that was it, and it was only so many miles. The army ? Yes, 
she thought the army was still there. Yesterday there had been 
what they called a reconoissance this way. A lot of grey soldiers 
had passed, going down to the Columbia road and back. 

Desiree rose refreshed, gave her thanks and went her way. A 
wind bent the trees and tore and heaped the clouds. The low sun 
shone out and turned the clouds into purple towers, fretted and 
crowned with gold. The rays came to Desiree like birds and flowers 
of hope. For all the woe of the land her heart began to sing. She 
walked on and on, not conscious of weariness, moving as though she 
were on air, drawn by a great magnet. The clouds were enchanted 
towers, the sky between, a waveless sea; the wind at her back, driv- 
ing her on, was welcome, the odour of woods and earth was welcome. 
On and on she went, steady and swift, an arrow meaning to pierce 
the gold. 

Suddenly, with a shock, the enchantment went. The wind, blow- 
ing with her, brought a distant, confused sound. She turned. It was 
sunset, the earth was suddenly stern and dark. Above the woods, 
back the way she had come, rose thick smoke. She knew it for what 
it was, knew that some one of Sherman's roving bands was there at 
the mill, burning it down. She stood with knit brows, for now she 
heard men upon the road. The ground here rose slightly, the road 
running across a desolate, open field, covered with sedge, from 
which rose at intervals tall, slender pines. Their trunks and bushy 
heads outlined against the sky, that was now all flushed with car- 
mine, gave them a curious resemblance to palm trees. West of the 
road, half way across the sedgy stretch, ran a short and ruined wall 
of stones, part of some ancient enclosure. Behind it showed again 
the darker, thicker wood. Desiree, leaving the road, went toward 
this, but she had hardly stepped from the trodden way into the sedge 
when behind her at the turn of the road appeared a man in uniform. 
She was above him, clear against the great suffusion of the sunset 
sky. He stared a moment, then turned his head and whooped, 
whereupon there appeared half a dozen of his fellows. 

They caught up with her just as she reached the broken wall. 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 435 

She saw that without exception they were drunk, and she set her 
back against the stones and prepared to fight. 

Five thousand men could not meet in battle sixty thousand, but 
they could and did send out reconnoitring bodies that gathered 
news of Sherman, tarrying yet upon the Congaree, and gave some 
sense of protection to the country people and gave sharp lessons to 
the marauding parties that now and again they met with. By mov- 
ing here and there they made a rimiour, too, of gathering grey troops 
and larger niunbers, of reinforcements perhaps from North Carolina, 
of at any rate grey forces and some one to play now protector, now 

avenger. So it was that on this winter afternoon the th Virginia, 

three or four hundred muskets, with a small detachment of cavalry 
going ahead, found itself marching down the main road, fifteen miles 
toward Columbia. It knew by now of the burning of Columbia. 
"Everything in ashes — houses and stores and churches and a 
convent. The people with neither food nor shelter — going where 
they can." Grey cavalry and infantry asked nothing better than 
to meet its foes to-day. So great, around the blue army, was the 
fringe of foragers and pillagers and those engaged in "making the 
coimtry untenable for the enemy," that the grey did meet to-day 
various bands of plunderers. When they did they gave short shrift, 
but charged, firing, cut them down and rode them over and chased 
them back toward Columbia and their yet stationary great force. 
The grey's humour to-day was a grim and furious humour. 

The th Virginia passed a cross-roads, and a little later came 

to something that aroused comment among the men. It was an 
empty, old-fashioned carriage, standing without horses, half on the 
road, half over the edge. "Looks," said the men, "like the ark on 
Ararat!" — "Forlorn, ain't it?" — "Where's the horses and the 
people who were in it?" — "Reckon those Yanks before us took 
the horses. As for the people — I'd rather be a humming-bird in 
winter than the people in this State! " 

Edward Cary rode across and checking his horse, leaned from the 
saddle and looked into the carriage — why, he hardly knew, unless 
it was that once in Georgia they had fovmd a carriage stranded like 
this, and in it a child asleep. There was in this one nothing living. 
. . . Just as he straightened himself he caught a glint of something 



436 CEASE FIRING 

small and golden lying in a corner. He dismounted, drew the swing- 
ing door further open and picked it up. It was a locket, and he had 
had it in his hands before. 

He remembered passing, a little way back, a negro cabin. After 
a word to the commanding officer he galloped back to this place. 
Yes, they could tell him, and did. "She took this road ?" "Yaas, 
sah. Long erbout midday. We done tol' her erbout de creek en de 
mill en de right- han' iroad — " 

" Has any one else gone by this road ? Any soldiers ? " 

"Yaas, sah. Right smart lot ob soldiers. Dey ax where dat road 
go, en I say hit go to de mill. Den dey say dey gwine burn de mill, 
en dey goes dat way. I reckon hits been mo 'n three hours ergo, sah." 

It was dusk when Edward Gary and twenty cavalrymen turned 
into this road, and it had been night for some time when they came 
to the reddened place where had stood the mill. It was all down 
now, though the flames were yet playing through the mass of fallen 
timbers. The mill-wheel was a wreck, the miller's house behind was 
burned. There were no soldiers here: they had destroyed and were 
gone. But out from some hiding-place came an old woman who 
seemed distraught. She stood in the flickering glow and said, 
"Yankees! Yankees!" and "They took an axe and killed the mill- 
wheel!" 

Edward spoke to her, soothed her, and at last she drew her wits 
together, talked to him, and answered his questions. "Yes, a wo- 
man had been there and had left a little before sunset. Yes, dressed 
so and so — a beautiful woman. Yes, she had gone by that road, 
walking away alone. She said good-bye and then she had seen and 
heard nothing more of her. Then, in a little, little time, came the 
Yankees. Some of them were drunk, and she had run out of the 
house and hid within a brush heap. . . . And now the mill-wheel 
would never turn again." 

"Which road did they take when they left — the Winnsboro' 
road or that one running south?" 

She was not sure. She thought the one running south — but 
maybe some went one way, some another. She did not know how 
many there were of them. They were on foot and horseback, too. 
Her eyes strayed to where the wheel had been, and she fell again to 
plucking at her apron. 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 437 

Cary and his men took the right-hand road. It lay quiet as death 
beneath the winter stars. They travelled it slowly, looking from 
side to side, but if there were signs that an enemy had been that 
way, in the darkness they could not read them. Neither did they 
see any sign of a soKtary traveller. All was quiet, with only the 
sighing of the wind. At last, nearing Wiimsboro', they came to their 
own picket-line. Camped by the road was a cavalry post. Edward 
spoke with the men here. " No. A quiet night — nothing seen and 
nothing heard out of the way. No one had passed — no, no 
woman." 

Cary tmmed in his saddle and looked behind him. Clear night, 
and dark and still through all the few miles between this place 
which she had not passed and the mill which she had. . . . The men 
with him had been in the saddle since dawn. They were weary 
enough, and under orders to report that night at Winnsboro'. 
At the end he sent on upon the road well-nigh all the troop, then 
turned himself and with but three or four horsemen behind him, 
began to retrace the road to the mill. Light and sound of the picket 
post died behind him, there came only the quiet miles of a lonely 
country and the stars above. 

The night was old when, suddenly, near again to the burned mill, 
there biust out of a by-path the men who had burned it. They 
had taken the southward running road, had burned two houses that 
lay that way, then encountering rough country and a swollen river, 
had elected, horse and foot, to march back the way they came. 
Now, emerging suddenly upon the wider road, they saw before them 
four horsemen, divined that they were grey, and with a shout joined 
battle. 

"They are six to one, men!" cried Cary. "Save yourselves!" 

There came the crash. He fired twice, emptying a saddle and giv- 
ing a ball in the shoulder to the half-drunken giant who seemed 
to be leading. Then with oaths three pushed against him. His 
horse reared, screamed and fell, pierced by bullets. He leaped clear 
of the saddle and fired ag^n, breaking a man's raised sabre arm. 
There was a blinding flash, a deafening sound — down, down he 
went into blackness and silence, into night deep as the nadir. . . . 

When he came slowly, slowly back to feeling and consciousness he 
was alone. It was dawn, he saw that. For a long time there seemed 



438 CEASE FIRING 

nothing but the fact of dawn. Then he suddenly rested his hand on 
the earth and tried to lift himself. With the vain effort and the pain 
it brought came a troubled memory. He put his hand to his side 
and felt the welling blood. The wound, he presently saw, was deep 
and hopeless, deep enough to let death in. His head fell back 
against the bank behind him and he faced the dawn. He was lying 
at the edge of the road, his dead horse near. All noise and war and 
strife were gone, the three or four men who had been with him cut 
down, or taken prisoner, or fled, the blue triumphant band gone its 
way. There was an utter stillness, and the dawn coming up cool and 
pure like purple lilies. He slightly turned his head. About him was 
a field of sedge with scattered pines. The wind was laid, and it was 
not cold. He knew that his hurt was mortal. . . . Suddenly, as from 
another world, there came to him a very faint cry — half cry for 
help, half plaint to a heaven blind and deaf. He dragged himself 
to his knees, with his hand cleared the mist from his eyes and gazed 
across an half acre of sedge to a heap of ruined stones like a broken 
wall. The voice rose again, faintly. With a vast, illimiinating rush 
came fully memory and knowledge, and like a dying leap of the 
flame, strength. He rose and crossed the sedge. 

She was lying where her murderers had left her, beneath the 
ruined wall. She was dying, but she knew him when, with a cry, he 
fell beside her, stretched his arms above her. "Yes," she said. 
"I believed that you would come." Then, when she saw the blood 
upon him, "Are you going with me?" 

"Yes, Love," he said. "Yes, Love." 

The great dawn climbed stealthfly, from tint to deeper tint, from 
height to height. The pine trees stood like dreaming palms, and the 
sedge spread like a floor of gold. "The river!" she said, "the great 
river that is going to eat us up at last! How it beats against Cape 
Jessamine!" 

" When I saw Cape Jessamine go down, I thought only ' If I were 
there! If I were with her, together in the wave! ' " 

Their voices died to whispers. With a vague arid fluttering hand 
she touched his brow and Ups. "I wanted the child to live — I 
wanted that. But it was not to be — it was not to be — " 

"Desiree! Desiree!" 

A smiie was on her Ups — almost of derision. " War is so stupid," 
she said. 



THE ROAD TO WINNSBORO' 439 

Upon the purple wall of the east a finger began to write in gold. 
The mist was stirring in the woods, the wind beginning. It lifted 
her dark, loosened hair, that was so wildly spread. It brought a 
drift of dead leaves across them where they lay. They lay side by 
side, like wreathed figures on a tomb. "Is it light?" she asked. 
"Can you see the light ?" 

"I can see it faintly. It is like the soimd of the sea." 

"It is very cold," she breathed. "Dark and cold." 

"Yes. . . . Dark and cold." 

"Give me your hand," she said. "Kiss me. We have been 
happy, and we will be so again. . . . Now I £im going. . . . Dark, 
dark — dark — " 

"Desiree— " 

"I see Ught like a star. . . . Good-bye." 

She died. With a last efiort he moved so that his arms were 
around her body and his head upon her breast, and then, as the sun 
came up, his spirit followed hers. 



CHAPTER XLI 

THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

IN this February the grey Congress at Richmond created the 
office of Commander-in-Chief of all the Confederate Armies, 
and appointed to it Robert Edward Lee. On the twenty-third 
Lee telegraphed to Johnston, then at Lincolnton, North Carolina: 

"General J. E. Johnston: — 

Assume command of the Army of Tennessee and all troops in 
the Department of South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Assign 
General Beauregard to duty under you as you may select. Con- 
centrate all available forces and drive back Sherman. 

R. E. Lee." 

"All available forces" were not many, indeed they were very 
few, but such as they were Johnston drew them together, and with 
them, the middle of March, faced Sherman at Bentonville. "Drive 
back Sherman?" Once that might have deen done, with the old 
Army of Tennessee. It could not be done now with the handful that 
was left of that army. On the first of April General Sherman's 
effective strength is given for all three arms, as something over 
eighty-one thousand men. Infantry and artillery the grey had on 
this date sixteen thousand and fourteen men, with a little above 
four thousand cavalry. Bentonville saw, grey and blue, an almost 
equal loss. After Bentonville came some days of calm, the grey 
encamped at Smithfield, the blue at Goldsboro. 

But through the pause came always the tolling of the bells, ring- 
ing loud and louder — 

Early in February Lee at Petersburg wrote to the Secretary of 
War as follows. "All the disposable force of the right wing of the 
Army has been operating against the enemy beyond Hatcher's 
Run since Sunday. Yesterday, the most inclement day of the 
winter, the men had to be retained in line of battle, having been in 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 441 

the same condition the two previous days and nights. I regret to be 
obKged to state that under these circumstances, heightened by 
assaults and fire of the enemy, some of the men had been without 
meat for three days, and all were suffering from reduced rations and 
scant clothing, exposed to battle, cold, hail, and sleet. . . . The 
physical strength of the men, if their courage survives, must fail 
imder this treatment. Our cavalry had to be dispersed for want of 
forage. Fitz Lee's and Lomax's divisions are scattered because 
supplies cannot be transported where their services are required. 
I had to bring W. H. F. Lee's division forty miles Sunday night to 
get him into position. Taking these facts in consideration with the 
paucity of our numbers, you must not be surprised if calamity 
befalls us." Bad in February, it was no better in March. 

Back to the trenches before Petersburg came, because they were 
needed, sundry troops that had fought in the Valley. Back came 
what was left of the Golden Brigade, and what was left of the Sixty- 
fifth Virginia. But November and December and January, well-nigh 
all of that winter, Richard Cleave, carried across the mountains 
after Cedar Creek, lay at Greenwood, a desperately wounded 
soldier. In February he began to gather strength, but the latter 
half of that month found him still a prisoner in a large, high, quiet 
room, firelit and still. 

On a grey afternoon, with a few flakes of snow in the air, turning 
from the window toward the fire, he foimd that Unity was his 
nurse for this twilight hour. She lifted her bright face from her 
hands. "That was a very sad sigh, Richard!" 

He smiled. "Unity, I was thinking. . . . I have not been a very 
fortunate soldier. And I used — long ago — to think that I would 
be." 

"Is there such a thing as a fortunate soldier?" 

He smiled again. "That depends. — Is there such a thing as a 
fortunate war? I don't know." 

His mother entered the room. "It 's Cousin William, Richard. 
He wants to come in and talk a little while." 

Cousin William appeared — seventy, and ruddy yet, with a gouty 
limb and an indomitable spirit. "Ha, Richard! that's more like! 
You're getting colour, and some flesh on your bones! When are 
you going back to the front ?" 



442 CEASE FIRING 

"Next week, sir." 

Cousin William laughed. "Well, call it the week after that!" 
He sat by the couch in the winged chair. The firelight played 
through the room, lit the two women sitting by the hearth, and the 
two or three old pictures on the walls. Outside the snow fell slowly, 
in large, quiet flakes. "Have you had any letters ?" asked Cousin 
William. 

Unity answered. "One from Fauquier yesterday. None from 
Edward for some days. The last was just a line from Columbia 
written before the troops left the place 'and Sherman came and 
burned it. We can't but feel very anxious." 

But Cousin William could not endure to see Greenwood down- 
cast. "I think you may be certain they are safe. — What did 
Fauquier say?" 

"Just that since Hatcher's Run there had been comparative 
inaction. He said that the misery in the trenches was very great, 
and that day by day the army was dwindling. He said we must be 
prepared now for the worst." 

Cousin William flushed, leaned forward, and became violently 
optimistic. "You tell Fauquier — or I'll write to him and tell him 
myself — that that is no way to talk! It is no way for his father's 
son to talk, or his grandfather's grandson to talk! I am sure, 
Richard, that you don't feel that way!" 

"Yes, sir, I do feel that way. We are at the end." 

"At the end!" ejaculated Cousin William. "Absurd! We have 
held Grant eight months at Petersburg! — Well, say that General 
Lee eventually determines to withdraw from Petersburg! What 
will follow ? Lee in Virginia and Johnston in Carolina have the 
inner lines. Lee will march south, Johnston will march north, they 
will join armies, first crush Sherman, then turn and destroy Grant! 
Richmond ? Well, say that Richmond is given up, temporarily, sir 
— temporarily! We will take it again when we want it, and if they 
burn it we will rebuild it! Nothing can keep it from being our 
capital. The President and the Cabinet and offices can remove 
for a time. Who knows but what it may be very well to be free and 
foot-loose of defended cities? Play the guerilla if need be! Make 
our capital at mountain hamlet after mountain hamlet, go from 
court-house to court-house — A capital! The Confederacy has a 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 44J 

capital in every single Southern heart — " Cousin William dashed 
his hand across his eyes. "I'm ashamed to hear you speak so, 
Richard! — But you're a sick man — you're a sick man!" 

"God knows what should be done!" said Cleave. "I am not an 
easy giver-up, sir. But we have fought until there is little breath 
in us with which to fight any more. We have fought to a standstill. 
And it is the coimtry that is sick, sick to death!" 

"Any day England or France — " 

"Oh, the old, old dream — " 

"Say then it's a dream!" cried Cousin William angrily. "Say 
that is a dream and any outer dependence is a dream! The spirit 
of man is no dream! What have we got for dependence ? We have 
got, sir, the spirit of the men and women of the South! We've got 
the imconquerable and imperishable! We've got the spiritual 
might!" 

But Richard shook his head. "A fire bums undoubtedly and a 
spirit holds, but day by day and night by night for four years death 
has come and death has come ! Half the bright coals have been swept 
from the hearth. And against what is left, sir, wind and rain and 
sleet and tempest are beating hard — beating against the armies, 
in the field and against the cotmtry in the field. They are beating 
hard, and they will beat us down. They have beaten us down. It is. 
but the recognition now." 

"Then may I die," said Cousin William, "before I hear Virginia 
say, * I am conquered!'" His eyes sparkled, his frame trembled. "Do 
you think they will let it rest there, sir! No! In one year I have 
seen vindictiveness come into this struggle — yes, I'll grant you 
vindictiveness on both sides — but you say that theirs is the win- 
ning side! Then I tell you that they will be not less but more vin- 
dictive! For ten years to come they will make us drink the water 
of bitterness and eat the bread of humiliation! Virginia! And that 
second war will be worse than the first!" 

He rose. "I can't stay here and hear you talk like this! I suppose 
you know what you're talking about, but you people in the field 
get a jaundiced view of things! I 'm going to see Noel. Noel and I 
worked it all out last night. — General Lee to cut loose from the 
trenches at Petersburg, Johnston to strike north, then, having the 
inner lines — " And so on. 



444 CEASE FIRING 

When he was gone Richard laughed. Unity, the log in her hands 
with which she was about to replenish the fire, looked over her 
shoulder. "That's sadder than sighing!" she said. "Don't!" 

"What shall we do? "he asked. "Go like pieces of wood for a 
twelvemonth — sans care, sans thinking, sans feeling, sans heart, 
sans — no, not sans courage!" 

"No — not sans courage." 

"I am not sad," he said, "for myself. It would be strange if I 
were, would it not, to-day ? I have a great, personal happiness. 
And even this afternoon, Unity — I am saying good-bye, as one 
of the generality, to despair, and pain, and wounded pride, and fore- 
boding, and unhappiness. I have been looking it in the face. Such 
and so it is going to be in the South, and perhaps worse than we 
know — and yet the South is neither going to die nor despair! — 
And now if there is any broth I surely could take it!" 

Going downstairs Cousin William found the library and Miss 
Lucy. "I got too angry, I suppose, with Richard — but to lie there 
talking of surrender! Surrender! I tell you, Lucy, — but there! I 
can't talk about it. Better not begin." 

" Richard is a strong man, William. He 's not the weakly despair- 
ing kind." 

"Iknow, Lucy, Iknow! But it 's not so bad as he thinks. I look 
for a big victory any day now. . . . Wellllet's talk of the wedding. 
When'sittobe?" 

"In three days. The doctor says he may come downstairs 
to-morrow. Corbin Wood will marry them, here in the parlour. 
Then, in a few days, Richard will go back to the front. . . . Oh, the 
sad and strange and happy so blended together. . . . We are so 
desperate, WiUiam, that the road has turned because we could n't 
travel it so any longer and live! There 's a strange kind of calm, 
and you could say that a quiet music was coming back into life. . . . 
If only we could hear from Edward!" 

The sky was clear on Cleave's and Judith's wedding-day. The 
sun shone, the winds were quiet, there was a feeling in the air as of 
the coming spring. Her sisters cut from the house-plants flowers 
for Judith's hair; there fell over her worn white gown her mother's 
wedding-veil. The servants brought boughs of cedar and bright 
berries, and with them decked the large old parlour, where the shep- 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 445 

herds and shepherdesses looked out from the rose wreaths on the 
■wall as they had looked when Hamilton and Burr and Jefferson 
were alive. The guests were few, and all old friends and kinsfolk, 
and there were, beside, Mammy and Julius and Isham and Scipio 
and Esther and Car'line and the others, Tullius among them. 
A great fire warmed the room, shone in the window-panes and the 
prisms beneath the candles and the polished floor and the old gilt 
frames of the Gary portraits. Margaret Cleave sat with her hand 
shadowing her eyes. Her heart was here, but her heart was also 
with her other diildren, with Will and Miriam. Molly, who was 
Miriam's age, kept beside her, a loving hand on her dress. Cousin 
WilUam gave away the bride. An artillery commander, himself 
just out of hospital, stood with Cleave. — Oh, the grey uniforms, so 
worn and weather-stained for a wedding party! 

It was over — the guests were gone. The household, tremulous, 
between smiles and tears, went its several, accustomed ways. 
There was no wedding journey to be taken. All life was fitted now 
to a Doric simplicity, a grave acceptance of realities without filagree 
adornment. There was left a certain fair quietness, limpid sincerity, 
faith, and truth. . . . There was a quiet, cheerful supper, and after- 
wards a little talking together in the library, the reading of the 
Richmond papers. Unity singing to her guitar. Then at last good- 
nights were said. Judith and Cleave mounted the stairs together, 
entered hand in hand their room. The shutters were all opened; 
it lay, warmed by the glowing embers on the hearth, but yet in a 
flood of moonlight. His arm about her, they moved to the deep 
window-seat above the garden, knelt there and looked out. Valley 
and hill and distant mountains were all washed with silver. 

" The moon shone so that April night — that night after you 
overtook the carriage upon the road — and at last we understood 
... I sat here all that night, in the moonlight." 

"The garden where I said good-bye to you, a hundred years ago, 
the day after a tournament. ... It does not look dead and cold 
and a winter night. It looks filled with lilies and roses and bright, 
waving trees — and if a bird is not singing down there, then it 
must be singing in my heart! It is singing somewhere! — Love is 
best." 

"Love is best." 



446 CEASE FIRING 

A week from this day he passed through Richmond on his way 
to the front. Richmond! Richmond looked to him like a prisoner 
doomed, and yet a quiet prisoner with a smile for children and the 
azure spaces in the winter sky. People were going in streams into 
the churches. The hospitals, they said, were very full. In all the 
departments, it was said, the important papers were kept packed 
in boxes, ready to be removed if there were need. No one any longer 
noticed the cannon to the south. They had been thundering there 
since June, and it was now March. There was very little to eat. 
Milk sold at four dollars a quart. And yet children played about 
the doors, and women smiled, and men and women went about the 
day's work with sufficient heroism. "Dear Dick Ewell" had charge 
of the defences of Richmond, the slightly manned ring of forts, the 
Local Brigade, Custis Lee's division at Chaffin's Bluff. In the high, 
clear March air, ragged grey soldiers passed, honoured, through the 
streets, bugles blew, or drums beat. One caught the air of Dixie. 

Cleave rode out over Mayo's Bridge and south through the war- 
scored country to Petersburg and the grey lines, to division head- 
quarters and then to the Golden Brigade. The brigade and he met 
like tried friends, but the Sixty-fifth and he met like lovers. 

The lines at Petersburg! — stretched and stretched from the 
Appomattox, east of the town, to Five Forks and the White Oak 
Road, stretched until now, in places, there was scarcely more than 
a skirmish line, stretched to the breaking-point! The trenches at 
Petersburg! — clay ditches where men were drenched by the winter 
rains, pierced by the winter sleet, where they huddled or burrowed, 
scooping shallow caves with bayonet and tin cup, where hands and 
feet were frozen, where at night they watched the mortar shells, 
and at all hours heard the minies keening, where the smoke hung 
heavy, where the earth all about was raw and pitted, where every 
muscle rebelled, so cramped and weary of the trenches! where 
there were double watches and a man could not sleep enough, where 
there were nakedness and hunger and every woe but heat, wh^re 
the sharpshooters picked off men, and the minies came with a 
whistle and killed them, and the bombs with a shriek and worked 
red havoc, where men showed a thousand weaknesses and again a 
thousand heroisms! Oh, the labyrinth of trenches, forts, traverses, 
roads, approaches, raw red clay, and trampled herbage, hillock and 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 447 

hollow, scored, seamed, and pitted mother earth, and over all the 
smoke and noise, blown by the March wind! And Petersburg itself, 
that had been a pleasant town, was a place of ruined houses and 
deserted streets! A bitter havoc had been wrought. 

The night of his return to the front Cleave stood with Fauquier 
Gary in an embrasure whence a gun had just been taken to 
strengthen another work, stood and looked first over the red 
wilderness of their own camp-fires, and then across a stripe of dark- 
ness to the long, deep, afld vivid glow that marked the Federal lines. 
The night was cold but still, the stars extraordinarily bright. "For 
so long in that quiet room at Greenwood!" said Cleave. "And now 
this again! It has almost a novel look. There! What a great shell!" 

"Fireworks at the end," answered Cary. "It is the end." 

"Yes. It is evident." 

"I have been," said Cary, "for a day or two to Richmond, and 
I was shown there certain papers, memoranda, and estimates. 
I wish you would listen to three or four statements out of many. — 
'Amount needed for absolutely necessary construction and repair 
of railroads if they are to serve any military purpose $21,000,000.' 
— 'The Commissary debt now exceeds $70,000,000.' — 'The debt 
to various factories exceeds $5,000,000.' — 'The Medical Depart- 
ment asks for $40,000,000, at least for the current year.' — 'The 
Subsistence Bureau and the Nitre and Mining Bureau as well as 
other Departments are resorting to barter.' — 'Requisitions by 
the War Department upon the Treasury since '61 amount to 
$1,737,746,121. Of the requisition for last year and this year, there 
is yet unfurnished $160,000,000. In addition the War Department 
has a further arrearage of say $200,000,000.' — This was a letter 
from one of the up-river counties patriotically proposing the use of 
cotton yarn or cloth as specie — thus reducing the necessity for 
the use of Treasury notes to the smallest possible limit! Let us see 
how it went. — First it proposed the removal of all factories to safe 
points near the mountains, where the water-power is abundant and 
approach by the enemy difficult. Next the establishment of small 
factories at various points of like character. Around these, as 
centres, it goes on to say, ' the women of our country who have been 
deprived of all and driven from their homes by the enemy should be 
collected, together with the wives and daughters of soldiers and 



448 CEASE FIRING 

others in indigent circumstances. There they would not be likely 
to be disturbed by the enemy. Thus distributed they could be more 
easily fed, and the country be greatly benefited by their labours, 
which would be light and highly remunerative to them, thereby 
lessening the suffering at home and the consequently increasing 
discontent in the army. Cotton would be near at hand, labour 
abundant, and the necessity of the transportation of food and 
material to and from great centres of trade greatly reduced. We 
would furnish the women of the country generally with yarns 
and a simple and cheap pattern of looms, taking pay for the same 
in cloth made by them — ' et caetera! . . . How desperate we 
are, Richard, to entertain ourselves with foolery like this! — But 
the act to use the negroes as soldiers will go through. We have 
come to that. The only thing is that the war will be ended before 
they can be mustered in." 

They turned in the embrasure and looked far and wide. It 
seemed a world of camp-fires. Far to the east, in the direction of 
City Point, some river battery or gun-boat was sending up rockets. 
Westward a blue fort began a sullen cannonade and a grey fort 
nearly opposite at once took up the challenge. "Fort Gregg," said 
Cary, "dubbed by our men 'Fort Hell,' and Fort Mahone called 
by theirs 'Fort Damnation.'" 

For all that the night itself was so clear and the stars so high and 
splendid, there was a murk discernible everywhere a few feet above 
the earth, rising like a miasma, with a faint, distasteful odour. 
Through it all the fires lit by men shone blurred. The cannon con- 
tinued to thunder, and above their salients gathered clouds of 
coppery smoke. A half brigade passed on its way to strengthen some 
menaced place, and a neighbouring fire showed in series its face 
and form. The men looked dead for sleep, hollow-eyed, hollow- 
cheeked. They dragged their limbs, their heads drooped, their 
shoulders were bowed. They passed like dull and weary sheep. 
Fort Hell and Fort Damnation brought more guns into action. 

Cleave passed his hand before his eyes. "It 's not," he said, "the 
way to settle it." 

"Precisely not," answered Cary. "It is not, and it never was, and 
it never will be. And that despite the glamour and the cry of 
'Necessity!'" 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 449 

"Little enough glamour to-night!" 

"I agree with you. The glamour is at the beginning. The 
necessity is to find a more heroic way." 

The two went down from the embrasure and presently said good- 
night. Cleave rode on — not to the house in which he was quartered, 
but to the portion of the lines where, he was told, would be found 
a command for which he had made enquiry. He found it and its 
colonel, asked a question or two, and at once obtained the request 
which he made, this being that he might speak to a certain soldier 
in such a company. 

The soldier came and faced Cleave where the latter waited for 
him beside a deserted camp-fire. The red light showed both their 
faces, worn and grave and self-contained. Off in the night and dis- 
tance the two forts yet thundered, but all hereabouts was quiet, 
the fires dying down, the men sinking to rest. "Stafford," said 
Cleave, "I have been lying wotuided for a long while, and I have 
had time to look at man's life, and the way we live it. It 's all a 
mystery, what we do, and what we do not do, and we stumble and 
stvunble! . . ." He held out his hand. "Don't let us be enemies 
any longer!" 



CHAPTER XLII 

APRIL, 1865 

A Confederate soldier, John Wise, speaks of the General-in- 
Chief. "I have seen many pictures of General Lee, but 
never one that conveyed a correct impression of his appear- 
ance. Above the ordinary size, his proportions were perfect. His 
form had fullness, without any appearance of superfluous flesh, and 
was as erect as that of a cadet, without the slightest apparent con- 
straint. No representation that I have ever seen properly conveys 
the light and softness of his eye, the tenderness and intellectuahty 
of his mouth, or the indescribable refinement of his face. . . . 

" There was nothing of the pomp or panoply of war about the head- 
quarters, or the military government, or the bearing of General 
Lee. . . . Persons having business with his headquarters were 
treated like human beings, and courtesy, considerateness, and even 
deference were shown to the humblest. He had no gilded retinue, 
but a devoted band of simple scouts and couriers who, in their 
quietness and simplicity, modelled themselves after him. . . . The 
sight of him upon the roadside or in the trenches was as common as 
that of any subordinate in the army. When he approached or dis- 
appeared, it was with no blare of trumpets or clank of equipments. 
. . . He came as unostentatiously as if he had been the head of a 
plantation riding over his fields to enquire and give directions about 
ploughing or seeding. He appeared to have no mighty secrets 
concealed from his subordinates. He assumed no airs of superior 
authority. . . . His bearing was that of a friend having a common 
interest in a common venture with the person addressed, and as if 
he assumed that his subordinate was as deeply concerned as himself 
in its success. Whatever greatness was accorded to him was not of 
his own seeking. . . . But the impression which he made by his 
presence, and by his leadership, upon all that came in contact with 
him, can be described by no other term than that of grandeur. . . . 
The man who could so stamp his impress upon his nation . . . and 



APRIL, 1865 451 

yet die witliout an enemy; the soldier who could make love for his 
person a substitute for pay and clothing and food, and could, by the 
constraint of that love, hold together a naked, starving band, and 
transform it into a fighting army; the heart which, after the failure 
of its great endeavour, could break in silence, and die without the 
utterance of one word of bitterness — such a man, such a soldier, 
such a heart, must have been great indeed — great beyond the 
power of eulogy." 

He had fifty thousand men to his opponents' hundred and odd 
thousand. His men were very weary, very himgry, very worn. He 
had a thirty-mile line to keep, and behind him the capital of his 
government of which he was the sole defence. For months there 
had come upon his ears, resoundingly, the noise of disaster, disaster 
in every ward of the one-time grey fortress of the South. For all 
victories elsewhere his opponent fired salutes, thundering across the 
winter air into the grey lines, listened to grimly, answered defiantly 
by the grey trenches. The victories in Georgia — Winchester and 
Cedar Creek — Franklin and Nashville — Fort Fisher — Savannah 
— Columbia — Charleston — the blue salvoes and huzzahs came 
with frequency, with frequency! And ever thinner and thinner grew 
the grey ranks. 

. . . There was but one last hope untried, and that was slight 
indeed, slight as gossEimer. Break away from these lines, cover 
somehow and quickly a himdred and forty southward-stretching 
miles, unite with Johnston, strike Sherman, turn and combat with 
Grant! How slight was the hope Lee perhaps knew better than any 
man. But he had accepted a trust, and hand and head served his 
cause to the last. 

... To strike aside Grant's left wing, with a last deadly blow, 
and so pass out — 

Fourteen thousand men, under Gordon, were given the attack 
upon Fort Stedman and the three forts on lifted ground beyond. 
On the twenty-fifth of March, at dawn, the assault was made — 
desperately made, and desperately repulsed. When the bitter day 
was over the blue had lost two thousand men, but the grey had lost 
twice as many. 

A. P. Hill held the grey right from Hatcher's Run to Battery 
Gregg. Gordon had the centre. Longstreet held from the Appomat- 



452 CEASE FIRING 

tox to the White Oak Road. Now on the twenty-ninth of March, 
Grant planned a general attack. Sheridan was here from the Valley, 
to come in on the grey rear with thirteen thousand horse. Every 
corps of the Army of the Potomac had its appointed place and task 
in a great movement to the right. Lee, divining, drew from his 
threadbare, extended Unes what troops he might and placed them 
at Five Forks, confronting the Second and Fifth blue Corps, — 
Fitz Lee's and W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, say four thousand horse, 
Pickett's diVfeion, thirty-five hundred miiskets, Anderson with as 
many more. All the night of the twenty-ninth, troops were moving 
in a heavy rain. 

Through the dripping day of the thirtieth sounded, now and 
again, a sullen firing. On the thirty-first the grey attacked — at- 
tacked with all their old elan and fury — and drove Sheridan back 
in disorder on Dinwiddle Court House. Night came down and made 
the battle cease. There dawned, grey and still, the first of April. 
All day there was fighting, but in the dim evening came the catas- 
trophe. Like a great river that has broken its banks, the blue, ad- 
vancing in force, overflowed Pickett's division. . . . The grey loss 
at Five Forks was five thousand. 

With the morning light Grant began his general advance upon 
Petersburg. The grey trenches fought him back, the grey trenches 
that were now no more than a picket line, the grey trenches with 
men five yards apart. They gave him pause — that was all that 
they could do. All the South was an iron bell that was swinging — 
swinging — 

General Lee telegraphed Breckinridge, Secretary of War. "It 
is absolutely necessary that we abandon our position to-night or run 
the risk of being cut off in the morning. I have given all the orders 
to oflScers on both sides of the river, and have taken every precau- 
tion I can to make the movement successful. Please give all orders 
that you find necessary in and about Richmond. The troops will 
all be directed to Ameha Court House." 

This day was killed A. P. Hill. 

In Richmond, twenty miles away, the second of April was a day 
bright and mild, with the grass coming up like emerald, the fruit 
trees in bloom, white butterflies above the dandelions, the air all 



APRIL, 1865 453 

sheen and fragrance. It was Sunday. All the churches were filled 
with people. The President sat in his pew at Saint Paul's, grave and 
tall and grey, distinguished and quiet of aspect. Here and there in 
the church were members of the Government, here and there an 
officer of the Richmond defences. Dr. Minnegerode was in the pul- 
pit. The sun came slantingly in at the open windows, — sunshine 
and a balmy air. It was very quiet — the black-clad women sitting 
motionless, the soldiers still as on pEirade, the marked man in the 
President's pew straight, quiet, and attentive, the white and black 
form in the pulpit with raised hands, speaking of a supper before 
Gethsemane — for it was the first Sunday ,in the monUi and com- 
mimion was to follow. The sun came in, very golden, very quiet. . . . 

The sexton of Saint Paul's walked, on tiptoe, up the aisle. He 
was a large man, with blue clothes and brass buttons and a ruffled 
shirt. Often and often, in these four years, had he come with a whis- 
pered message or a bit of paper to this or that man in authority. He 
had come, too, with private trouble and woe. This man had risen 
and gone out for he had news that his son's body was being brought, 
into town; these women had moved gropingly down the aisle, be- 
cause the message said father or brother or son or husband . . . 
Saint Paul's was used to the sexton coming softly up the aisle. Saint 
Paul's only thought, " Is he coming for me ? " — " Is he coming for 
me?" 

But he was coming, it seemed, for the President. . . . Mr. 
Davis read the slip of paper, rose with a still face, and went softly 
down the aisle, erect and quiet. Eyes followed him; many eyes. 
For all it was so hushed in Saint Paul's there came a feeling as of 
swinging bells. . . . The sexton, who had gone out before Mr. 
Davis, returned. He whispered to General Anderson. The latter 
rose and went out. A sigh like a wind that begins to mount went 
through Saint Paul's. Indefinably it began to make itself known that 
these were not usual svunmons. The hearts of all began to beat, beat 
hard. Suddenly the sexton was back, summoning this one and that 
one and the other. — "Sit still, my people, sit still, my people!" — 
but the bells were ringing too loudly and the hearts were beating 
too hard. Men and women rose, hung panting a moment, then, 
swift or slow, they left Saint Paul's. Going, they heard that the lines 
at Petersburg had been broken and that General Lee said the Gov- 
ernment must leave Richmond — leave at once. 



454 CEASE FIRING 

Outside they stood, men and women, dazed for a moment in the 
great porch, in the gay hght of the sun. The street was filHng with 
people, people in the green, climbing Capitol Square. It climbed to 
the building Jefferson had planned, to the great white pillars, beyond 
and between which showed the azure spring sky. The eyes of the 
people sought their capitol. They rested, too, on the great bronze 
Washington, riding his horse against the blue sky, with Marshall 
and Henry and Jefferson and Mason and Lewis and Nelson about 
him. Across from the church was a public building in which there 
were Government offices. Before this building, out in the street, a 
great heap of papers was burning with a light, crackling flame. 
" Government papers," said some one, then raised his eyes to the 
stars and bars above the white capitol and took off his hat. 

All day the fevered city watched the trains depart, all day wagons 
and horsemen passed through the streets, all day there was a saying 
farewell, farewell — farewell to many things! All day the sun shone, 
all day men and women were conscious of a strange shock and dizzi- 
ness, as of a violent physical impact. There was not much, perhaps, 
of conscious thought. People acted instinctively, automatically. 
Now and then weeping was heard, but it was soon controlled and it 
was not frequent. This was shipwreck after four years of storm, 
after gulfs of despair and shining shores of hope. It was taken 
quietly, as are many shipwrecks. 

Night came. Custis Lee's troops at Chaffin's Bluff, eight miles 
below the city, began to withdraw, crossing the river by pontoons. 
There was now between Richmond and Manchester only Mayo's 
Bridge, guarded by a company or two of the Local Brigade. People 
were down by the river, many people. It seemed to give them com- 
pany, swollen like their own hearts, rushing between its rocky islets, 
on and down to the boundless sea. Others wandered through the 
streets, or sat silent in the Capitol Square. Between two and three 
o'clock began the ordered blowing-up of powder magazines and arse- 
nals and of the gunboats down the river. Explosion after explosion 
shook the night, terrific to the ear, crushing the heart. Up rushed 
the smoke, the water reddened, the earth trembled, shells from the 
arsenals burst high in air, lighting the doomed city. They wrought 
a further horror, for falling fragments or Tarands set afire first this 
building and then that. In a short while the whole lower part of the 



APRIL, 1865 455 

city was burning, burning down. Smoke mounted, the river was 
lit from bank to bank, there was born with the mounting flames a 
terrible splendour. On Cary Street stood a great Commissary de- 
pot, holding stores that the Government could not remove. Here, 
in the flame-lit street, gathered a throng of famished men and women. 
They broke open the doors, they carried out food, while the fire roared 
toward them, and at last laid hold of this storehouse also. Loud and 
loud went on the explosions, the powder, the ranged shells and cart- 
ridges, and now came the sound of the blowing up of unfinished gun- 
boats. The smoke blew, red-bosomed, over the city. Through the 
murk, looking upward from the river, came a vision of the pillars of 
the Capitol, turned from white to coral — above, between smoke- 
wreaths, lit and splendid, the flag of the Confederacy. . . . 

Dawn broke. The last grey troops passed over Mayo's Bridge, 
firing it behind them. There came a halt between tides, then, 
through the murk and roar of the burning city, in from the Varina 
and New Market roads a growing sound, a sound of marching men, 
of hurrahing voices, of bands that played now "Yankee Doodle" 
and now " The Star Spangled Banner." 

Through the April country, miles and miles of springing verdure, 
miles and miles of rain-softened, narrow roads, marched the Army 
of Northern Virginia. It must guard its trains of subsistence. But 
so wet was the coimtry where every streamlet had become a brook, 
and every brook a river, so deep were the hollows and sloughs of the 
unutterable road that many a wheel refused to budge. Supply and 
ammimition wagons, gun wheel and ambulance wheel must be 
dragged and pushed, dragged and pushed, over and over again. O 
weariness — weariness — weariness of gaunt, hardly-fed and over- 
worked horses, weariness of gaunt, hardly-fed, over-worked men! 
The Sim shone with a mocking light, but never dried the roads. 
Down upon the trains dashed Sheridan's cavalry — fifteen thou- 
sand horsemen, thrice the force of the grey cavalry. Grey rear 
guard formed, brought guns into action, pushed back the assault, let 
the trains move on — and then in an hour, da capo 1 Horses fell in 
harness, wagons had to be abandoned, others, whirled against by the 
blue cavalry, were burned, there was no time that a stand could be 
made and rations issued — even had there been any rations to issue. 



4S6 CEASE FIRING 

Amelia — There would be stores found at Amelia Court House. 
That had been arranged for. . . , But when on the fourth Long- 
street reached Amelia, and after him Gordon and Ewell there were 
no stores found. Some one had blundered, something had miscar- 
ried. There were no stores. 

On the fifth of April, Lee left Amelia Court House and struck 
westward, with a hope, perhaps, of Lynchburg and then Danville. 
Behind him was Grant in strength, Sheridan and Grant. . . . And 
still the bottomless roads, and still no rations for his soldiers. The 
Army of Northern Virginia was weak from hunger. The wounded 
were many, the sick and exhausted were more. There was now a 
great, helpless throng in and about the wagons, men stretched upon 
the boards, wounded and ill, stifling their groans, men limping and 
swaying alongside, trying to keep up. . . . And then, again and 
again, great cavalry dashes, a haggard resistance, a scattering, over- 
turning, hewing-down and burning. . . . And still the Army of 
Northern Virginia drew its woimded length westward. 

Sleep seemed to have fled the earth. Day was lighter and some- 
thing warmer than night, and night was darker and more cold than 
day, and there seemed no other especial difference. The monotony 
of attack, monotonously to be repelled, held whether it were light or 
dark, day or night. Marching held. Hunger held. There held a 
ghastly, a monstrous fatigue. And always there were present the 
fallen by the road, the gestures of farewell and despair, the covered 
eyes, the outstretched forms upon the earth. And always the 
dwindling held, and the cry, Close up t Close up t Close up, men t 

"Mighty cold April!" saidthemen. "Even the pear trees and the 
peach trees and the cherry trees look cold and misty and wavering — 
No, there is n't any wind, but they look wavering, wavering . . ." 
— " Dreamed a while back — sleeping on my feet. Dreamed the 
trees were all filled with red cherries, and the corn was up, and we had 
a heap of roasting ears . . ." — "Don't talk that-a-way! Don't tell 
about dreams! 'T'is n't lucky! Roasting ears and cherries — O 
God ! God ! " — " Talking about corn ? I heard tell about a lady in 
the country. All the horses were taken and the plantation couldn't 
be ploughed, and she wanted it ploughed. And so a battle happened 
along right there, and when it was over and everybody that could 
had marched away, she sent out and gathered two of the horses that 



APRIL, 1865 457 

were just roaming around loose. So she had plough-horses, but they 
were so himgry they were wicked, and she did n't have any fodder 
at all to give them. Not any at all. But women are awful resource- 
ful. There were a lot of shuck beds in the quarter. She had the ticks 
ripped open and she took the shucks and soaked them in hot water 
and sprinkled them v?ith a little salt and fed her plough-horses. If 
anybody stumbles on a shuck bed in this march I speak for it!" — 
Close up! Close up I Close up, men I 

" ' Maxwelton braes are bonny, 
Where early fa's the dew, 
And 't was there that Annie Laurie 
Gaed me her promise, true — ' " 

And on they went — and on they went toward Appomattox. 

In every company there was the ControversiaUst. Not cold nor 
hunger nor battle could kill the Controversialist. The Controver- 
sialist of Company A — the column being halted before a black and 
cold and swollen stream — appealed to Allan Gold. " I ? " said Allan. 
" What do I think ? I think that we were both right and both wrong, 
and that, in the beginning, each side might have been more patient 
and much wiser. Life and history, and right and wrong and minds 
of men look out of more windows than we used to think! Did you 
never hear of the shield that had two sides and both were pre- 
cious metal? The traveller who said, ' This is a gold shield,' was 
right — half right. And the traveller who said, ' This is a silver 
shield,' was right — half right. The trouble was neither took the 
trouble to walk round the shield. So it is, I reckon, in most wars 
— this one not excepted! Of course, being in, we 've dope good 
fighting—" 

On moved the Army of Northern Virginia, through the cold river 
and up upon the farther side. Column forward I Column forward I 
Flowering fruit trees and April verdure and a clearing sky. On and 
on down a long, long vista. . . . Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp I 

" ' Way down South in the land ob cotton, 
'Simmon seed and sandy bottom — ' " 



THE END 



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